Thursday, August 19, 2010

Is Rudy Fernandez an Option?


Fernandez's emphatic slam energizes Spain late in the 2008 Olympic final against the USA

Spanish swingman Rudy Fernandez is gearing up to participate in the World Championships of basketball with defending champion Spain at the end of the month. It sounds better than Olympic game runner-up, although that is where we might have seen the best out of that group. They gave the Redeem Team a real run for their money even without starting point guard Jose Calderon, and the highlight of Rudy's career in my opinion was the one handed slam after beating Dwight Howard to the spot - it seemed to emphasize the notion that Spain was no longer intimidated by USA basketball no matter who was staring at them on the other side.

We may see great things out of Rudy at this year's tournament as he will have to step his game up even further to help alleviate the loss of the team's heart and soul, Pau Gasol. However, it may be the last we see of him as he has just let it be known, through his agent, that he will not return to Portland, preferring to sit out two seasons in his prime and then returning to Europe. His main issue is that Nate McMillan has turned him into a bench player whose only significant role in the offense is to hit the open three pointer. It actually reminds me a lot of what Miami did with DaeQuan Cook, who was chosen ahead of Fernandez in that same draft.

There is a lot more to Rudy's game than that and he knows he could be a star player in this league if he lands in the right place, so I believe that is his number one option. Could Miami be that special landing place? Only if he gets a role similar to the one that has been earmarked for Mike Miller. I would gladly bump Miller into the starting lineup and turn Fernandez into the super sixth man. As of right now, the only realistic offer Miami could make is Mario Chalmers and Dexter Pittman for Rudy Fernandez.

I get a sick feeling in my stomach thinking about giving up Pittman because I think he could be a steal for this team. However, if you can add a young player who can stroke it from the perimeter and is a better facilitator of the offense than any of the current point guards on the roster, why would you hesitate? We may be losing the center of the future in the process, but it is no different than giving up Michael Beasley in order to squeeze Mike Miller into the fold. If Portland is interested, you pull the trigger and never look back.

UPDATE: Fernandez has been fined $25K for "public statements detrimental to the NBA". I know he was being very open to the Spanish press about his unhappiness in Portland. In Europe, this is common practice, but the NBA has really taken a strong stance against players forcing their way out of a team.

SIDE NOTE: Public perception of the NBA in Europe will go down if they continue to bully their players and go forward with a lockout. Nobody, especially overseas, understands how the league can possibly lose money - nobody is forcing teams to spend the type of money that they are spending, the minimum allowed player budget seems to be low enough for any team to make a profit. I am dumbfounded by the seemingly inevitability of a lockout that on its face seems preposterous.

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