The theory espoused in the headline is certainly not unique. One of the silver linings expressed by the early optimists of the aftermath was that the two teams which jumped into the No. 2 and No. 3 slots were less obvious Ricky Rubio landing spots than other options. In other words, the Clippers or Wizards at No. 2 would take Rubio. The Timberwolves or Warriors would take Rubio. The Grizzlies? The Thunder? Maybe not.
Today's DraftExpress report -- that Rubio's camp, led by notoriously disruptive agent Dan Fegan, does not find Memphis or Oklahoma City to be suitable landing spots, hoping instead for L.A. or Sacramento -- only reaffirms this. I've heard the same indications DX's Jonathan Givony published: Rubio's family and Fegan feel much more comfortable in Sacramento than they would in Memphis or Oklahoma City.
Why? For all Sacramento's faults (the organization, not the city), the Kings franchise is actually more stable than the one over in Memphis. (Shocking, I know ...) As for the Thunder, they have a point guard and a superstar. Rubio will never be bigger than Kevin Durant in OKC, barring injury or a complete destruction of expectations for Rubio. (This isn't to say Rubio can't be a more important player than Durant in the NBA -- I don't think he ever will be, but it's possible. But Durant is a decade-long MVP candidate, and a decade-long scoring title contender. Chicks dig the long ball, or something.)
If Rubio goes to Sacramento, he will be on the billboards. He will start some time in his rookie year (maybe Day 1). He will sell the jerseys, sell the Fords, sell the Kings. He will fill the seats (never a guarantee anyone can do that in Memphis). And Sacramento has a solid history of building NBA careers for European players. Geoff Petrie is incredibly well respected. This team really has no dramatists (anymore). It's stable, it's safe, and there's some great potential on the roster.
And don't think for a second Fegan will fail in using pressure to turn off the undesirable teams. Because of the buy-out situation, Rubio is a risk to any team which doesn't have an agreement in place ahead of time. Who can control the buy-out process? Fegan. Rubio will have to pay DKV some amount of money to leave, whether up front or in future earnings. Fegan will be among Rubio's representatives in that process. He can make the whole situation really, really difficult for any usurping team.
This is not an endorsement of the ploy by Fegan, leaking it out across the ether that Rubio dislikes Memphis and OKC. It's a bit shady, and I'd much rather land Rubio because Memphis and OKC fall in love with Thabeet and Harden, respectively. But it doesn't reflect poorly on Rubio. He's not making these decisions. He just wants to play in the NBA. And with all due respects to the power brokers involved, we ain't drafting Dan Fegan. We're drafting Ricky Rubio. I don't plan on engaging in any sort of guilt trip if Fegan sneaks Rubio out of Memphis' hands.