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Thunder to schedule workout with Ricky Rubio

By Darnell Mayberry Modified: May 22, 2009 at 1:26 am •  Published: May 22, 2009

gan said the city didn’t have a sufficient Asian population. Nonetheless, the Bucks drafted Yi, and he played in 66 games for them before being traded to New Jersey last summer.

Other cases in which players or their representatives took similar public stances with certain cities or franchises include Steve Francis with the then Vancouver Grizzlies in 1999, Keith Van Horn with Philadelphia in 1997, Kobe Bryant with the then Charlotte Hornets in 1996 and Danny Ferry with the Los Angeles Clippers in 1989.

Francis was ultimately traded by the Grizzlies prior to his rookie season, Philadelphia immediately shipped Van Horn to New Jersey, Bryant was soon traded by Charlotte to the Los Angeles Lakers and Ferry chose to play in Italy before the Clippers traded his draft rights to Cleveland.

Alonzo Mourning, in his 12th season in 2004, refused to report to Toronto after the Nets traded him. The Raptors eventually bought out his contract and Mourning finished the season with Miami.

An NBA spokesman declined to comment on the issue.

The report on Rubio, however, is an example of the type of rumors that typically run rampant in the month leading up to the draft but is sure to catch Thunder fans’ attention — in large part because of critics’ longtime question of whether elite players would ever want to play in Oklahoma City.

"I don’t think (Oklahoma City) needs to be leery of that,” Goodwin said. "What (general manager) Sam (Presti) is doing is building a good team there. And players go to places that have two things, a good team and a good fan base, period. You’re in town to play basketball and make sure that the fans enjoy you playing basketball and to hopefully win championships. That’s what they’re trying to build down there.

"Each city that has an NBA franchise didn’t start off as a dominant city to be in. It had to be built over the years.”

Goodwin cited marketing opportunities as reason why agents typically prefer their clients in larger markets but said location is often overrated.

"It doesn’t matter where you are,” Goodwin said. "It’s whether or not the player puts in the energy to become a better player and the company puts in the energy to make him a more marketable player.”