Fernandez finished with Blazers, NBA, agent says

Agent says guard will not return to Portland

By Brian T. Smith, Columbian Sports Writer

Published:

Updated: August 18, 2010, 5:33 PM

 

Rudy Fernandez officially wants out.

The Portland Trail Blazers continue to dig in and hold their ground.

As a result, nearly four months’ worth of trade-related speculation and demands boiled over Wednesday, when Andy Miller, Fernandez’s agent, said the second-year guard is “done” with the Blazers and the NBA.

Miller said his client is seeking an “amicable divorce” from Portland. Moreover, Fernandez has no intention of playing in the NBA in 2010-11, and wants to return as soon as possible to his native country of Spain. Fernandez is even wiling to be fined by the Blazers or engage in legal proceedings, rather than return to Portland.

“There’s nothing to fix,” Miller said. “He does not want to come back to the NBA.”

Blazers general manager Rich Cho said the team’s stance about Fernandez has not changed during recent months. The first-year GM understands Fernandez’s situation and is aware of his feelings. But Cho is not willing to trade the second-year guard at a loss.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to do what’s in the best interest of the organization,” Cho said.

Fernandez, 25, is set to make $1.2 million next season. He is under contract with Portland through 2011-12, while the team holds a qualifying offer worth $3.1 million in 2012-13. The Blazers also hold Fernandez’s Federal International Basketball Association rights, limiting his ability to play in Europe.

Fernandez is an energetic sharpshooter who quickly developed into a fan favorite following a strong rookie season during 2008-09, when he averaged 10.4 points, shot 39.9 percent behind the 3-point line and set an NBA rookie record for made 3s (159).

But he entered 2009-10 questioning his role with the Blazers, and his numbers dropped in almost every major statistical category. He averaged 8.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists, but struggled with consistency while missing 20 games due to back and leg injuries.

Speculation about Fernandez’s future with Portland mounted during an exit interview with the local media following the end of the 2009-10 campaign. The native of Palma de Mallorca, Spain responded to queries about whether he wanted to play for Portland in 2010-11 by repeating “I have a contract.”

“For sure I don’t want to stay in the same situation next year,” Fernandez said in April.

Since then, the Blazers have explored trade talks with several teams in an attempt to appease the disgruntled reserve. But Fernandez’s low trade value, combined with his constant complaints about his role with Portland, have hindered the process.

A Blazers source said Fernandez originally presented Portland with about 10 teams he wanted to be traded to as the 2010 NBA Draft approached. Portland attempted to move the guard during the days leading up to the June 24 draft, but was unable.

By the time Cho was named GM in mid-July, Fernandez’s list of proposed destinations was narrowed to Boston, Chicago and New York. This small choice of big-name teams further hampered negotiations. The Celtics and Bulls will likely hold late first-round picks in 2011, which Portland feels does not merit equal return for Fernandez. Meanwhile, the Knicks lack the requisite first-round choice in future drafts that Portland is seeking. Counter offers recently made by the Blazers to all three teams have also been turned down, forcing Portland to hold on to an unhappy Fernandez.

Miller said Wednesday that neither playing time nor a key role on another NBA team are still issues for Fernandez. Instead, the guard has simply soured on the idea of playing in the NBA.

“This is not a bluff,” Miller said. “In his mind, he’s not coming back.”

Miller said he has attempted to be fair and reasonable with the Blazers during negotiations. But after waiting

months for Portland to make a move, the “light is out.”

“In my mind, we’re at a very unnecessary juncture,” Miller said. “I’m certainly not happy as an NBA agent that this is happening.”

Miller also represents Blazers guard Andre Miller.

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