“Colorful, attractive, spectacular” Rubio still kinda likes Minnesota; won’t play there until 2011-12 at best

The Associated Press released an interview with FC Barcelona/prospective Minnesota Timberwolves PG Ricky Rubio this morning in which the Human YouTube Clip proclaimed he won’t be entering the NBA until the opt-out clause in his contract kicks in, i.e. at the end of the 2010-11 ACB season, and that he might yet be willing to suit up for the Minnesota Timberwolves when/if he does.

“I’m open to everything,” said Rubio in the piece. “You never know when all of this finishes if it will be with [Minnesota].” On the other hand, the ‘Wolves “have the best possibility because they hold my rights, and they’ve shown me how much they want me and for that I have to be thankful toward them.”

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Free Darko, already: Eyjafjallajokull conspires to keep Milicic in America

For perhaps the first time since he was drafted at no. 2 overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 2003 NBA Draft, Darko Milicic’s picture is in newspapers across the world. Of course, the location is far from the safe confines of a basketball court and the Associated Press piece instead captures the beleaguered baller on Friday in O’Hare Airport, from where Al Italia had canceled all flights to Serbia due to that great bloody cloud of ash spewed forth from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano that’s hovering malevolently over swathes of The Continent.

BallinEurope can, as of yet, find no word in Serbian or English-language media on whether Milicic has actually managed to depart Chicago and/or arrive on The Continent since then, but i’m reckoning there’s some sort of conspiracy going on involving Odin, Loki, the board of directors of the former Kaupthing Bank and Minnesota Timberwolves GM David Kahn to keep him in America.

After all, while (for all we know) Milicic continues to stew at O’Hare, the Timberwolves-centered bits of the interweb are warm to agog about the team’s meaningless late-season addition lucky find.

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Note to Simmons: Dude, Rubio’s a little better than 30%

It’s not that BallinEurope is obsessed with both Bill Simmons and Rubio-to-Minnesota, but … all right, i am obsessed with both Bill Simmons and Rubio-to-Minnesota. Still, when BiE finally got around to reading this week’s patented “Mailbag” column only to see no. 1 best-selling author The Sports Guy take an incorrect swipe at the poster boy for European basketball’s future on the international stage, well, BiE had to come to the defense of Rubio, especially since the sparring partner in this debate will never actually see this column, heh heh.

The topic was, as stated, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ future. A frustrated fan sought empathy from Simmons in a pleading email that dissected a bit of the infamous 50% season-ticket discount the Wolves are pitching which BiE had a look at last week.

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Best of the (basketball) net: Happy Birthday, Charles edition

Ball in Europe will be rounding up this weekend’s European cup action tomorrow, but for today here are a handful of stories from the interwebs this week about every other subject in a seven-day span spent mostly between deprogramming from NBA All-Star Weekend and preparing for the Copa del Rey.

• The best post of this week comes from the past: Specifically, a retelling of events surrounding a team called the Harlem Rens and the 1939 World Professional Basketball Tournament at Hoops Addict. What? You’ve never heard of either? Well, first you can whet your appetite here; then check out the trailer for the Kareem Abdul-Jabber written/produced documentary film, due for general international release in 2010. The book, on Harlem basketball and that area’s cultural Renaissance in the 30s, entitled On the Shoulders of Giants is out now.

• The NBA trade deadline went down this week and unsurprisingly the NBA’s second-most famous draft bust of all-time was dealt from the New York Knicks. All but admitting that the presence of Darko Milicic is as temporary as the 27 games left on the Minnesota Timberwolves’ schedule when he joined the team post-Nate Robinson trade, the team now seems mostly concerned about … making Milicic feel nice.

Says Timberwolves GM David Kahn, “I hope he will give it one more shot. Even if he ends up returning to Europe, I hope he wants to end his NBA career on a positive note. In our situation, he’ll play.”

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Rubio to Minnesota becoming reality?

Whoa, Ricky Rubio might become a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves after all. According to Minnesota-based reports, team president David Kahn was again in Spain this week to discuss the situation further and to “set up a communication line between Rubio and new Wolves coach Kurt Rambis.”

My, won’t FC Barcelona be disappointed…

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