Timberwolves add Richardson; Rubio next?

The Minnesota Timberwolves traded point guard Sebastian Telfair and power forwards Mark Madsen and Craig Smith to the Los Angeles Clippers for shooting guard Quentin Richardson on Monday.

The Minnesota Timberwolves traded point guard Sebastian Telfair on Monday, presumably to make room in the backcourt for highly touted draft pick Ricky Rubio.

Telfair, the only veteran point guard on the Timberwolves, was dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers with power forwards Mark Madsen and Craig Smith for shooting guard Quentin Richardson.

But Timberwolves president David Kahn told reporters in New York that he made the move to free up the logjam at power forward and not pave the way for Rubio. 

"This is not a precursor of any sort," Kahn said prior to hopping a flight to Spain to negotiate Rubio's buyout with DKV Joventut. "We have no feel yet as to whether Ricky will be joining us."

Minnesota drafted Rubio fifth overall last month, but Joventut is demanding a $6.6-million US contract buyout from the floppy-haired guard.

The Timberwolves can provide only $500,000 US toward that, meaning Rubio might have to spend next season in Spain unless Kahn can talk Joventut into lowering the price. 

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Rubio on release:

"I want to play in the NBA. I don't know if it is this year or next year.

"But we're going to see because, you know, my buyout is big. We're talking about that." — Ricky Rubio

Minnesota also drafted Syracuse guard Jonny Flynn sixth overall, meaning Telfair would not play much, and sophomore pro Wayne Ellington was the only shooting guard left after Kahn traded Randy Foye and Mike Miller to the Washington Wizards on June 24.

"I felt we needed to start addressing some of the roster imbalances that were created as part of the Wizards trade, and this is a step toward that," he said. "If we want to add another player, we now have a place to do that."

A player like Rubio, a flashy ball handler often compared to Pistol Pete Maravich. 

"Because of how the point guard situation may evolve — and this doesn't have anything to do with Rubio, per se — I sensed that playing time for Sebastian would wane over the next few years," Kahn said.

"I'm going going back back to Cali, Cali," Telfair posted on his Twitter account. "Just got traded to clippers.

"I'm a little upset becuase [sic] I love Minnesota. But I think I will be happy in LA also."

With files from The Associated Press