From Chad Ford at ESPN.com:
Ricky Rubio, the Spanish point guard sensation that has been compared to everyone from Pete Maravich to Steve Nash will declare for the 2009 NBA draft, his agent, Dan Fegan, told ESPN.com from Barcelona Monday afternoon.
Rubio will have until June 15 to withdraw his name from the draft. However, his agent sounded confident that he’s staying in. “Ricky will be in the 2009 draft,” Fegan said. Fegan has been in Barcelona this week meeting with Rubio and his family trying to come to a decision. Rubio is the starting point guard for DKV Joventut in Spain and is widely considered the best young international player in the world…
Rubio’s decision to enter the draft comes after months of speculation that he might return to his DKV Joventut for one more year. For Rubio to leave for the NBA, he’s going to have to pay Joventut a huge buyout to be released from his contract there. NBA teams are limited to paying just $500,000 toward an international player’s buyout by the collective bargaining agreement. That means if Rubio wants to play in the NBA, he’s going to have to pay some of the buyout out of his own pocket.
Most likely, Rubio and Joventut come to some sort of compromise. If Joventut doesn’t make it to the Spanish League Finals this year, most likely they won’t be in the Euroleague next year. That puts more financial pressure on Joventut to come up with some sort of compromise that gives them financial relief from a buyout and allows Rubio to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA.
For Clippers fans, this is potentially great news — a kid that could light up Staples Center and make us forget about Shaun Livingston — but drafting a young international player doesn’t come without risk. Just as the Orlando Magic. When they drafted Fran Vasquez with the 11th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, they thought they had assurances from Vasquez’s camp that a buyout was in the works and that the Spanish big man had every intention of joining Orlando’s frontcourt. Vasquez could never reach a settlement with FC Barcelona, and Orlando is still waiting.
If blessed with the #2 pick, should the Clippers draft Rubio? Absolutely, but they should also be aware that there are no such things as verbal commitments in the NBA. They know firsthand.