Strong preseason has Ricky Rubio's confidence rising as contract extension deadline nears

Ricky Rubio has put together a strong preseason as the deadline for extending his contract nears.

Playing with more confidence and more freedom now that Kevin Love is in Cleveland, Rubio averaged 11.3 points in 22.5 minutes during six preseason games for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He shot 43.5 percent from the field, an improvement over the poor 37 percent he's shot during the first three seasons of his career.

Rubio and the Timberwolves have until midnight on Oct. 31 to reach agreement on a contract extension. If they do not, he will become a restricted free agent next summer.

The Timberwolves open the season in Memphis on Wednesday night. Their home opener is on Thursday against Detroit.