by Jack Maidment
Making it to the League is the objective right? That’s pretty damn exciting. Getting paid to do something you love? Sign me up.
The opportunity to get drafted is such a huge opportunity that where you play is kind of a foot note. However, Ricky Rubio, having already played pro ball in Europe since he was 5, is apparently less than thrilled at the prospect of relocating to Memphis. Or Oklahoma.
So, while everyone else focuses on improving their draft stock, thus their wages, just being excited by the start of their NBA career, Rubio is busy scheming. Or at least his agent is.
“I’m drafted? Sick! Where to?”
“Oh. Ok. You know what, I’m good in Spain. I’ll check you next year.”
Apparently, Rubio wants LA. Or Sacramento at a push. Otherwise he is not interested.
The extent to which this is BS is clearly up for discussion, but it does ask a number of questions.
For 95% of the players in the Draft, this is the first chance they have to get paid to play. However, Brandon Jennings and Rubio are used to the sweet smell of Euros in their pockets.
This effectively means that the allure of the NBA is strictly based on playing experience rather than building an impressive bank balance.
They already got money AND a nice place to live.
Let’s be fair. If you had your choice of Rome and Barcelona or Oklahoma City which would you choose? Likely you would be booking your tickets to Europe straight away.
The fact is that truly elite athletes have a luxury that everyone else does not. The freedom to choose. They get their own way or, well, no, they just get their own way.
Kobe Bryant is rumoured to hold a no-trade clause in his contract. The only difference is that Rubio has not made it in America yet. It’s the same situation.
Now clearly Rubio is not Kobe, LeBron or Wade, but he has experienced enough success to stamp his feet a little if he feels it.
This throws in another variable in player’s decisions.
Do you want a good team to draft you so that you win straight away with sparce playing time?
Or a bad team with lots of time and lots of losing?
Or the team doesn’t matter at all, just location.
Luckily, the majority of Draftees do not have the sort of power that Rubio possesses, so they will go where they are told and be grateful for it.
The real difficulty for Rubio is that the likelihood of a ‘good’ location is fairly slim. And if he holds out and calls Memphis’s bluff, his reputation takes a huge hit.
If the Grizzlies or the Thunder stand firm and draft him but he returns to Spain, boy does the NBA look silly.
If it turns out to be lies, or not, Rubio can likely expect a loud welcome whatever.
Probably boos and jeers.