Report: Rudy Fernandez opts for NBA

Updated: July 5, 2011, 3:14 PM ET
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com

Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Rudy Fernandez will pass on becoming the highest-paid player in the Spanish ACB, the strongest of the European leagues, to remain in the NBA -- at least for now.

According to a report Tuesday on the Spanish sports website Marca.com, Fernandez has decided not to accept a six-year, $26 million contract offer with Real Madrid, meaning he will not return to his home country this season, regardless of how long the NBA lockout lasts.

The 6-foot-6 Fernandez will play out the final year of his contract with the Mavs, and then, according to the report, decide where he prefers to continue his career.

Dallas traded its 26th overall pick, Jordan Hamilton, to the Portland Trail Blazers for Fernandez as part of a three-team, draft-night swap. The Mavs also sent the 57th pick to Portland and received point guard Petteri Koponen.

Under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement that expired July 1, Fernandez would earn $2.2 million next season and could become a restricted free agent with a $3.2 million qualifying offer for the 2012-13 season.

Had Fernandez accepted the Real Madrid deal, he would have joined that club assuming the lockout continued, then returned to the Mavs whenever the 2011-12 season begins to complete the final year of his contract.

The struggling Real Madrid franchise hoped to revive its fortunes by luring the popular Fernandez, 26, back home with promises of riches he may not find in the NBA.

The Real Madrid offer averaged about $4.35 million a year. Under a new agreement in the NBA, salaries are expected to become more restrictive, and -- barring a breakout season -- Fernandez might find he is worth more in Spain.

Mavs owner Mark Cuban recently gave an interview to Marca.com and said he has long admired Fernandez's all-around game and that Dallas had made unsuccessful offers for the Spaniard before. According to the report, Cuban's support helped to sway Fernandez's decision, at least for the upcoming season.

Fernandez gives Dallas the tall, athletic and youthful shooting guard they have long desired. He instantly becomes the top candidate to start at shooting guard with Rodrigue Beaubois again coming off foot surgery and Jason Terry entrenched as the team's sixth man.

Fernandez played three seasons with the Trail Blazers, averaging 9.1 points on 39.4 percent shooting. He is a career 36.4 percent shooter from 3-point range. He struggled during Portland's first-round playoff loss to Dallas, averaging 2.8 points on 22.2 percent shooting.

Because of the lockout, Mavs officials are not permitted to speak with Fernandez or his representatives.

Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.