National Sports Briefs: Timberwolves to meet Rubio
MINNEAPOLIS ó The Minnesota Timberwolves cannot do much financially to help Ricky Rubio with a multimillion-dollar buyout of his contract with DKV Joventut in Spain.
So team president David Kahn is heading across the Atlantic to meet with the team personally in hopes of lowering the $6.6 million price tag that has threatened to keep the wunderkind point guard in Europe for at least next season.
Kahn confirmed his plans to travel to Spain in a text message to The Associated Press on Thursday, but declined further comment, including when the trip will take place. It was first reported by YahooSports.com.
Rubio, who was drafted fifth overall by the Timberwolves in June, is still under contract with Joventut for the next two seasons. After helping Spain to a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics and playing in the Spanish ACB since the tender age of 14, the 18-year-old is ready to test his skills in the NBA.
The one thing holding him back appears to be money. Rubio made less than $100,000 playing for Joventut last season, so it is no surprise that the prospect of being on the hook for millions of dollars before he even plays a game in the United States would give him pause.
From the day Kahn drafted Rubio, to the delight of the Timberwolves fan base, the new president has taken a pragmatic approach to a sticky situation. He said the young and rebuilding team would be willing to wait year, or even two, if Rubio could not reach an agreeable buyout agreement with Joventut.
“We will be totally supportive of Ricky and his family and (agent Dan) Fegan in any way, shape or form,” Kahn said the day after Rubio was drafted. “If there’s anything we can do to be of assistance or of help, as long as it is within the rules, we will.”
– SALT LAKE CITY ó The Utah Jazz are going to hang on to forward Paul Millsap.
The Jazz posted on their Web site Thursday evening that they plan to match Portland’s offer to Millsap, a restricted free agent. A formal announcement was scheduled for Friday, the last day Utah can match the $32 million deal that includes $10.3 million up front.
– NEW YORK ó David Lee’s unresolved contract situation will keep him on the sideline next week when USA Basketball holds its minicamp in Las Vegas.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. ó He is the only man to lead six universities to bowl games. Still, Lou Holtz never considered coaching his primary calling. He had a lot more to teach than X’s and O’s.
“I coached life. The same thing that would enable you to be a good player would enable you to be a good student, a good father, a good business person, et cetera,” he said.
Holtz, who led Notre Dame to its last national championship in 1988 and also coached William & Mary, North Carolina State, Arkansas, Minnesota and South Carolina during his 33-season career, will be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. He will be joined by fellow coaches John Cooper, the only coach to win a Rose Bowl with bot a Pac-10 school (Arizona State) and Big Ten school (Ohio State), Jim Donnan, who coached at Marshall and Georgia, and former Missouri Valley coach Volney Ashford.
Former UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman, 1959 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon of LSU and former Oklahoma State tailback Thurman Thomas head the class of 17 players being enshrined during two days of festivities Friday and Saturday.
DURHAM ó North Carolina Central has hired former Duke player Robert Brickey as an assistant men’s basketball coach.
Brickey had spent the past year as assistant director of operations for the Duke women’s basketball program.
– BOULDER, Colo. ó Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn says basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik had a “casual” conversation with the Minnesota Timberwolves about their head coaching vacancy.
TOUR de FRANCE
VITTEL, France ó Lance Armstrong is ready to climb again, ready to leave the pack at the Tour de France after days of flat riding that belonged to sprinters.
After three days of sitting back in the main pack while others challenged for stage wins, the worst thing to happen to Armstrong was a small puncture to his back tire on Thursday’s 12th stage. Nicki Sorensen of Denmark won it, Rinaldo Nocentini of Italy kept the yellow jersey, and Armstrong’s tire was repaired within a flash.
Today, it’s back to serious business as Armstrong goes up against his Astana teammate Alberto Contador on a tricky trek that features one grueling mountain climb.
“Tomorrow is hard, that is a real stage,” Armstrong said Thursday. “The climb up Col du Platzerwasel is difficult, it is a long way. It is a longer day and anything can happen.”
CARSON, Calif. ó The Los Angeles Galaxy says its game against AC Milan is sold out for David Beckham’s first home game of the season with the MLS team.
The club said Thursday that the standing room only seats for Sunday’s exhibition it put on sale last weekend are completely gone.
ASHBURN, Va. ó The Washington Redskins have selected Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon in the third round of the NFL supplemental draft.
The Redskins will give up their third-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
PHOENIX ó The Phoenix Mercury have suspended guard Diana Taurasi for two games without pay after she was cited on drunk-driving related charges.