No, this isn't another post about the (vague, ephemeral, unlikely, nonsensical) possibility of the Rockets trading for Rubio. This is about the game being played right now between the young Spanish guard and the Timberwolves: Rubio's open preference to not play in Minnesota (or OKC, Memphis, or any other non-Sacramento small market club) and desire to be traded.
Now, there is no reason to really go into the details of Rubio's contract situation. Suffice it to say that he'll have to pay his own buyout, but he'll probably be able to afford it now (thanks to an impending court decision), should he choose to go to the NBA, but he'll make more money right now in Europe than in the NBA thanks to the rookie salary scale. He's using this situation as leverage to force a trade to another team.
So, my question is this: What do you think of this strategy? Is it ethical? Do you like it? Do you have a problem with it?
My own opinion is that Rubio (like Steve Francis, Kobe, Eli Manning, John Elway, and countless baseball draftees) is doing something perfectly alright. In fact, I think it's great. The draft depresses what these players would be paid in an open market, and I think they have a right to get as much compensation for this as possible. In baseball, players can use the threat of returing (or entering) college or playing in the independent leagues to negotiate a larger signing bonus. In basketball, however, first-round picks are limited by the salary scale, and so forcing a trade to a more preferrable situation is all they can do. Yeah, this sucks for T-Wolves fans (just as it sucked for Grizzlies, Hornets, Chargers, and Colts fans when those other players did it), but Minnesota knew Rubio didn't want to play there when they drafted him.