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Rubio opts for Spain rather than Minnesota
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Highly-rated Spanish guard Ricky Rubio has opted to join Regal FC Barcelona and spend another two years in Europe rather than join the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves, who had selected him in this year's draft.

Barcelona said in a statement on their website (www.fcbarcelona.cat) that the 18-year-old had signed a six-year deal worth about 3.5 million euros ($5 million) to join them from DKV Joventut.

The agreement included a clause that would allow Rubio to play in the NBA in two years' time, Barcelona said.

Timberwolves president David Kahn said on the team's website (www.nba.com/timberwolves) that Rubio was ready to move to Minnesota but then changed his mind.

"While the term sheet was being finalized on Monday night, Ricky informed me that, despite considering us his first option the previous weekend - and, admittedly, after some back and forth throughout the summer -- he preferred to stay at home to play for FC Barcelona, which earlier this summer had made a buyout offer to Joventut.

"He also reaffirmed that it was his intention to join Minnesota two years from now when he will be 20," said Kahn.

Rubio said that he wanted to take two more years in Spain in order to be better prepared for a move to the NBA.

"The reason leading me to take this next step is to have a period of preparation to better take the challenge of the NBA in better conditions as a player. The Minnesota Timberwolves continue to be my first option and I wish to play with them in the near future," he said.

Rubio was drafted by the Timberwolves with the fifth pick in the first round of the NBA Draft.

(Reuters via China Daily Seotember 3, 2009)

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