NBA PM: Rubio, Wolves Moving on Without Love

Ricky Rubio and the Timberwolves are ready to move forward with Kevin Love.

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Rubio Ready To Move on Without Love

The Minnesota Timberwolves will enter the 2014-15 season with many new faces after the team traded Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers and added players like Thaddeus Young, Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Zach LaVine, Mo Williams and Glen Robinson III among others. While the Wolves experienced a lot of turnover, the man getting those players the ball will be the same.

Ricky Rubio is excited to play with his new teammates in Minnesota and even though he would’ve liked to see things work out with Love, he is moving forward with the players who are around him and who actually want to be there.

In an interview with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Rubio admitted that he didn’t talk to Love and try to persuade him to stay because he felt the star power forward had already made up his mind.

“If he wanted to leave, there’s no reason to talk to him about it,” Rubio told Yahoo. “I really liked playing with him, but I’ll play with the players who want to be there. Kevin wants to win. That’s normal. He’s been there six years without the playoffs. I understand. If I was in the same situation – being one of the best players in the league – and not being able to be in the playoffs, I’d have a lot of frustration, too.

“We had a pretty good, pretty amazing first season together. But then we were unlucky, had a lot of injuries, and that cut the rhythm, the momentum, that we had started with together. If nobody got hurt, we could’ve made it to the playoffs and maybe have gone farther together. But the injuries started, and kept going, and we never could keep what we had.”

Rubio had nothing but positive things to say about Love and he is grateful that the perennial All-Star helped him with his transition to the United States and NBA early in his career.

“I have to be thankful for everything he did for me,” Rubio said of Love. “Coming from Europe to the NBA, it is not easy. Having the superstar give you the head’s-up on things, look out for you … I appreciate it. But in the end, it didn’t work out and we move on. He’s always going to be a great memory with me. Not just the way we played together, because it was fun but it’s the way he accepted me from day one.”

One positive about the Love trade for the Timberwolves is that the team will no longer be distracted by Love’s frustration. Recently, there had been a lot of questions about the disgruntled forward. Rubio and his teammates won’t miss having to talk about the rumors and reports.

“The last couple years there have been a lot of questions,” Rubio said. “It is hard – even if the team is good – the media always talks about it. You don’t want to think about it, but everyone is always talking about your main guy this way. And it becomes harder to be focused. Right now, we have to play with the players we have.”

Rubio doesn’t want to leave Minnesota like Love; in fact, he’s hoping to sign a contract extension on his rookie deal this summer. If the two sides can’t agree to an extension, Rubio will become a restricted free agent next summer. Wojnarowski reports that Rubio’s agent Dan Fegan and Timberwolves president Flip Saunders have had negotiations, but nothing is imminent. The deadline for the two sides to reach an agreement is Oct. 31.

“I’m loyal,” Rubio said. “I want to give them back what they gave me there: a lot of love.”

The question is, how much is Rubio worth? There have been reports that indicated the point guard wants a max extension. However, his shot continues to be a huge weakness and he hasn’t proven that he can be a franchise player. He’s an excellent passer, but what else does he bring to the table? That’s the question that some people around the league ask about Rubio.

One thing that may have stunted the 23-year-old’s growth was the torn ACL he experienced early in his career. He says he’s still fighting his way back from that and trying to get back to 100 percent.

“When you lose a year or nine months, you lose a lot of muscle,” Rubio said. “You lose the feel and rhythm of the game. You lose quickness. It doesn’t come back right away. It comes with time. It comes with work.”

Whether he’s ready or not, all eyes will be on Rubio. With Love no longer in Minnesota, this is his chance to step up, lead the team and prove that he’s worth that big payday he desires.

NBA D-League Announces Affiliations, Flexible Assignment System

The NBA Development League, the official minor league of the NBA, today announced the full list of affiliations between NBA and NBA D-League teams for the 2014-15 season, including an all-time high 17 single-affiliation partnerships. The Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive), Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa Energy), New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks), Orlando Magic (Erie BayHawks), Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield Jam) and Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede) all entered into single affiliation relationships with their NBA D-League affiliate during the offseason. Additionally, the NBA D-League has implemented a new flexible assignment system that will enable the 13 independent NBA teams to continue to assign players to the NBA D-League for development or rehabilitation.

For the 10th consecutive season, each singly-affiliated NBA team will have one NBA D-League team to which it may assign its players. The Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the lone independent NBA D-League Team, will be affiliated with the remaining 13 NBA teams. To accommodate assignments to Fort Wayne, a flexible assignment system will be utilized when an independent NBA team assigns a player at a time when the Mad Ants already have either the maximum of four NBA players on assignment or two assigned players at the position of the NBA player who is being assigned. In either event, the NBA D-League will identify to the assigning NBA team any singly-affiliated NBA D-League team that is willing to accept the assigned player, and the independent NBA team assigning the player will choose a team from among those teams to assign the player. If no singly-affiliated NBA D-League team is willing to accept the assigned player, he will be assigned to one of the non-NBA-owned single affiliate teams pursuant to a lottery.

During the 2013-14 season, an all-time high 62 NBA players were assigned to their NBA D-League affiliates a record 187 times. Twenty-five players drafted in 2013 spent time on assignment in the NBA D-League last season, including 10 first-round selections. Portland Trail Blazers’ rookie C.J. McCollum, selected 10th overall, and Minnesota Timberwolves’ rookie Shabazz Muhammad, selected 14th overall, headline the group of 2013 NBA draftees who honed their skills in the NBA D-League last season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors each assigned five players to their NBA D-League affiliates during the 2013-14 season, while the New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings and 2014 NBA champion San Antonio Spurs each sent four players to the NBA D-League during the course of last season.

For the third season, players in the first three years of their NBA careers may be assigned to their team’s NBA D-League affiliate an unlimited number of times. For the fourth consecutive year, players beyond the first three years of their NBA careers may be assigned to the NBA D-League with both their consent and the consent of the NBA Players Association.

Of the 17 singly-affiliated NBA D-League teams who will play in 2014-15, seven are fully owned and operated by their NBA parent club (Austin Toros, Canton Charge, Delaware 87ers, Los Angeles D-Fenders, Oklahoma City Thunder NBA D-League Team, Santa Cruz Warriors, and Westchester). Nine teams (Bakersfield, Erie, Idaho, Iowa, Grand Rapids, Maine Red Claws, Reno Bighorns, Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Sioux Falls Skyforce) are operated under a “hybrid” affiliation, whereby the NBA team manages and funds the basketball operations while local ownership maintains control of the business and community relations aspects of the team. The Dallas Mavericks and Texas Legends have a one-to-one affiliation by way of Donnie Nelson’s ownership of the Legends.

The NBA D-League continues to be a springboard for NBA talent with an all-time high 33 percent of all NBA players on 2013-14 end-of-season rosters having played in the NBA D-League during their careers.

The complete affiliation system for 2014-15 is listed below:

Cleveland Cavaliers

Philadelphia 76ers

Orlando Magic

Atlanta Hawks
Brooklyn Nets
Charlotte Hornets
Chicago Bulls
Denver Nuggets
Indiana Pacers
Los Angeles Clippers
Milwaukee Bucks
Minnesota Timberwolves
New Orleans Pelicans
Portland Trail Blazers
Toronto Raptors
Washington Wizards

Detroit Pistons

Utah JazzIOWA ENERGY (Des Moines, IA)
Los Angeles Lakers

Boston Celtics

Oklahoma City Thunder

Sacramento Kings

Houston Rockets

Golden State Warriors

Miami Heat

Dallas Mavericks

New York Knicks

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