When two forces collide, there’s only a small number of possible outcomes. In this case, Rudy Fernandez and the Portland Trail Blazers will have no choice but to part ways – no matter how it happens.
The 2009-10 season didn’t go so well for Fernandez, only a year after setting the NBA rookie record for 3-pointers made in a single season. He remained unhappy throughout the entire past year with his playing time, and then underperformed when given opportunities to prove himself.
On July 20th, Rudy made it clear to the media that he desired to leave the Trail Blazers and either join another NBA franchise or return home to Spain, where he played before Portland brought him overseas.
The next day, July 21st, the Portland front office responded to Fernandez’s desire by declaring they would not outright release the disgruntled Spaniard, but would only trade him, so as to not give him away for nothing in return.
At the time, Rudy made this remark to El Mundo Deportivo: “If I could reach an agreement with Portland, so that they would not trade me to another NBA team and they would accept my return to Europe, I’d be pleased, My agents are looking for the best trade for me, but at the end of the day only Portland can decide.”
Well, apparently, Fernandez has changed his mind about Portland being the only involved party that “can decide.”
On Wednesday, Rudy’s agent, Andy Miller, announced amid Portland’s inability to trade the guard that Fernandez is prepared to sit out the final two seasons of his contract, even if it means he cannot play in the NBA or in Spain, where FIBA rules do not allow players under contract in the NBA to play in their league.
According to Jason Quick of The Oregonian, Fernandez was unhappy with Nate McMillan’s offense, which limits him to pure jump shooting, rather than displaying his playmaking abilities.
Writes Quick: ” Miller said new Blazers general manager Rich Cho has ‘overreached’ in his attempt to trade Fernandez, turning down offers from Chicago, New York and Boston, leaving Miller and Fernandez with no option other than to hold firm that the former first-round pick will not report.
‘All I can do now is stand on the roof top and scream ‘He’s not coming!’,” Miller said. ‘He’s just not coming back … I’ve made that clear.’ ” (Oregonlive)
Rudy Fernandez will not be reporting to any Blazer practices, nor will he participate in any team activities. According to Andy Miller: “In Rudy’s mind, this is long over.”
Portland paid Phoenix $3 million for the rights to draft Fernandez 24th overall back in 2008, so you can understand the team’s unwillingness to release him without getting something of value in return.
New Blazers’ GM Rich Cho plans to keep Fernandez on the roster, and will never outright release him.
This is the first real test Cho has faced since taking over for fired GM Kevin Pritchard, and it appears that he’s making it clear to his current and future players that he won’t stand for selfishness. If he can’t work out a trade – something he says he won’t do unless is makes the Trail Blazers a better team – prepare for a long, drawn out battle between him and Fernandez, who won’t be allowed to play without the release.
How this affects Rudy’s trade value is yet to be seen, but you can be sure many other teams will look at the situation and realize that they don’t have any desire to take on Rudy Fernandez, his two-year contract, and all the baggage that comes with it.
In any case, you have seen the last day in which Rudy Fernandez dons a Trail Blazers uniform.