Ricky Rubio has agreed to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves next season, ending a two-year negotiation with the team.
A person with knowledge of the agreement confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the Spanish point guard will play in the NBA next season. The person requested anonymity because Rubio is still playing for his team in the Euroleague playoffs.
The Timberwolves drafted Rubio fifth overall two years ago despite a buyout of his Spanish contract that topped $6 million. The enormity of the buyout caused Rubio to stay overseas rather than immediately come to the NBA, and there was talk that the precocious teenager did not want to play in Minnesota.
The current labor uncertainty complicated the negotiations. But Rubio ultimately decided he was ready to come over now.
TRIANO OUT AS RAPTORS' COACH: Jay Triano will not return as Toronto Raptors coach next season.
The Raptors announced Wednesday they will not exercise their option on Triano's contract. He will be retained as a consultant and a special assistant to president and general manager Bryan Colangelo.
"We've decided that it was time to change the voice, change the leader at the helm," Colangelo said on a conference call Wednesday evening.
Triano, an Ontario native, guided the Raptors to a record of 87-142 in his three seasons as coach. He served as an assistant to three coaches before being named interim head coach in December 2008 following the dismissal of Sam Mitchell. The interim tag was later removed and Triano signed a three-year deal in May 2009.
Colangelo said he and Triano recently met to talk about the season and the future of the team.
"All of the factors that were discussed were weighed," Colangelo said. "It led to the conclusion that now was the right time to make a coaching change and we've decided to do that."
The search for a new coach will begin immediately and there is no firm deadline in place. Colangelo did not mention names but said he'd be interested in someone with a "defensive-minded perspective."
"I think tenure, experience, success, rate of success, those will all be factored in," Colangelo said.
The Raptors finished 22-60 this season, last in the Atlantic Division.
The announcement came two weeks after Colangelo agreed to a multiyear contract extension. He has spent five years at the helm of Canada's lone NBA team.
Colangelo said P.J. Carlesimo — the only assistant coach who remains under contract for next season — is not a candidate to replace Triano at this time.
PROGRESS MADE IN LABOR TALKS: Commissioner David Stern felt there was progress. Union executive director Billy Hunter says he is "hopeful."
So a month before a potential lockout, there was some reason for optimism about the NBA's labor situation.
Representatives of the league's owners and players met for about four hours Wednesday and will get together twice next week in Dallas as they try to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expires June 30.
Hunter has said he was "99 percent" sure of a work stoppage, but says there was a productive exchange of ideas in Wednesday's session.
Stern says they are "quite far apart on paper" but hopes there is still time for compromise.
PISTONS SALE FINAL: Investor Tom Gores is now officially the owner of the Detroit Pistons.
The team says the sale was formally completed Wednesday, one day after Stern said the league's Board of Governors had approved Gores' purchase of the franchise. Gores takes over following a drawn-out sale by owner Karen Davidson that stretched back before the season.
Karen Davidson transfers control to Gores after nearly 37 years of ownership by the Davidson family. Bill Davidson, her husband, became the club's majority owner in 1974. He died in 2009.
Gores figures to have a busy first month in charge. The Pistons have missed the playoffs two straight seasons, and coach John Kuester's future is very much in doubt.
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