Minnesota Timberwolves star point guard Ricky Rubio is taking advantage of circumstance. With fellow star teammate Kevin Love making his way out of town one way or another over the next year (free agency or trade), Rubio reportedly is now seeking a max contract extension.

Rubio and his agents are wisely leveraging Love’s departure here, as it clearly makes Rubio the lone true superstar left on the team. Naturally, that role will come with added pressure, both from opposing defenses and the media. Rubio is said to be looking for the five-year max deal.

Former GM David Kahn had previously declined to offer the seemingly more valuable Love a max deal in order to preserve it for Rubio, but only time will tell if the current brass in Minnesota will look to do the same. With Love on the way out via trade at some point this year, the Timberwolves would probably be wise to meet Rubio’s demand. If they don’t, they’d risk losing a second star player.

While Minnesota can’t afford to start dropping superstar talents left and right, they do need to consider two things: first, if Rubio is really worth a max deal and two, if they could just get quality value in return for dealing Rubio.

For one, Rubio wouldn’t be really making up for the loss of Love’s main asset – his scoring prowess. As the owner of a 2013-14 scoring average of 9.5 points per game, Rubio’s inefficient shooting and average scoring ability would have to be taken into account when considering a max deal. There is no denying Rubio’s talent as a play-maker and his clear upside at just 23 years old, but it’s at least arguable that he’s fairly overrated.

While that may very well be the case, it’s still very possible many teams view him as a legit “answer” to their problems at the point. What Rubio lacks as a shooter and scorer he arguably makes up for as a facilitator, while he has the size and length to also develop into a better defender.

Rubio doesn’t seem to be intent on leaving Minnesota, however. In fact, he’s been open about wanting to sign a long-term deal and stick with the Timberwolves – provided he doesn’t have to sacrifice winning in the process.

“I like Minnesota,” said Rubio,”But I want to win, too…Are we going to lose a lot? Before I came to Minnesota, the season before they won like 17 games.”

Ideally, the T’Wolves would land a trade for Love that would net them picks to keep building, as well as a player or two that could help them remain competitive. For now, it looks like one shoe will follow the other. Once Love’s situation unfolds, we’ll know more about what Rubio will do. Minnesota just needs to know that a second problem follows closely behind their dilemma with Love.

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