Ricky Rubio’s Buyout Saga


Spanish hoops sensation Ricky Rubio will most certainly be a top 5 pick in the NBA draft on June 25th and he’s expected to make a big splash in the league. After all, last summer in the Olympics at only 17yrs old he more than held his own — especially against the US in the gold medal game — and proved the experts right when they said his game was league ready. Like many others who’d only heard about him and got a chance to actually watch him play for the first time last summer, I was very impressed with the kid. Sure he’s got a lot of work ahead of him but he’ll only be 19yrs old once the season starts and he’s been playing professional basketball since he was 15. He has a tremendous upside and needless to say, his future is very bright.

However, young Ricky is already facing a roadblock to his NBA career before it even starts. He notified his current team DKV Joventut that he wants to terminate his contract in order to play in the NBA. Easy enough right? Wrong. Rubio has a buyout clause in his current contract (which is typical) and the 4.75 million Euro (approx. $6.6 million) buyout amount wouldn’t be considered odd if it weren’t for the fact that Rubio only earned 70,000 Euros (approx. $97,000) this past season and he’s scheduled to make 125,000 Euros next season (approx. $175,000) which would’ve been his fourth year as a pro with the club. After June 30th, his buyout will climb to 5.75 million Euros. So whichever team drafts him is going to have to cut a very big check in order to even sign him.

According to his father Esteban Rubio, they tried to renegotiate his contract — obviously in order to lower the buyout amount — but an agreement couldn’t be reached and the contract was never changed. Ricky is now going to go through arbitration to try and get this situation settled. DKV president Jordy Villacampa is very upset that he and the club are being made out to be the bad guys in all of this and he’s said that they will fight to make sure that what was agreed to in the contract is enforced.

There’s a couple of ways that you can look at this. First, the buyout clause is very disproportionate to the amount of money that Ricky Rubio makes and it can definitely be seen as an act of greed on the part of the club who obviously knew that Rubio would play in the NBA sooner rather than later. But the flip side of that is why in the world would his family allow Ricky to even sign this contract in the first place? Especially given the amount of his actual basketball salary. I know that he was young and his family probably needed the money, but there’s no way that deal even made sense to begin with. This is a contract that never should’ve been signed.

The fact that he’s taking this matter to arbitration and even possibly a lawsuit which would be the next step if arbitration fails all but guarantees he’s played his last game with DKV Joventut and you’ll definitely see him in an NBA uniform next season. Whichever team drafts him and pays his buyout will definitely be getting their money’s worth and a return on their investment, but it’s very hard for me to say that DKV Joventut and Jordy Villacampa are at fault on this. They drew up a contract, Ricky Rubio signed it, and at the end of the day they have a legal right to enforce it. 

Was the contract fair? Absolutely not, especially when you consider that since he’s been a professional what he’s been paid in total salary doesn’t even come close to what the team wants to receive in terms of a buyout. But on the other hand, he knew this day would come and when he signed his name on that contract he agreed to what was in it. He and his family are learning the hard way that in business nobody’s going to give you what you deserve. You only get what you negotiate.


One Response

  1. What you’re missing is that NBA teams CANNOT buy out contracts from other leagues for more than $600 000.00 (six hundred thousand).
    So its not up to the NBA team at all.
    Raptors had the same problem with Roko Ukic.

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