Blazers' Rudy Fernandez fined by NBA
With Team USA set to play Fernandez and the Spanish national team Sunday night, the latest developments regarding the disgruntled Fernandez and the trade speculation surrounding Carmelo Anthony have added two more subplots to an NBA offseason that refuses to take a holiday.
The minutes were cut simply because we had a four-guard rotation . . . I think in all team sports you have situations where people want more, and yet you have to make sacrifices.” -- Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan
"I've tried to contact Rudy, and he hasn't returned calls [since the season ended]," Portland coach Nate McMillan told ESPN.com. "So we'll just have to see what happens. We're looking to improve our team at all times, but I don't know what's going to happen."
McMillan later told The Oregonian that he had connected with Fernandez over the phone but the two did not discuss Fernandez's holdout threat and desire to be traded.
"I thought it was a good conversation," McMillan told the newspaper. "I don't want to go into the details, but I talked to him as a coach."
Fernandez, on his Twitter account, called the discussion "cordial."
Fernandez's agent, Andy Miller, told several news outlets that Fernandez will not report to training camp and is willing to sit out the next two seasons if the Blazers refuse to trade his client.
Stephen Jackson and Nate Robinson were fined last season for violating the NBA's rule that prohibit players from publicly requesting a trade, though both eventually got their wish -- Jackson was traded from Golden State to Charlotte, and Robinson moved from the Knicks to the Celtics.
Thus far, new Portland general manager Rich Cho has declined every trade offer that has been presented.
A league source told ESPN.com that in late June, several teams with draft picks in the teens offered to send their pick to Portland for Fernandez, but the Blazers -- who were being run by then-general manager Kevin Pritchard -- declined.
The Celtics and Bulls have since offered their No. 1 picks in 2011, the source said, and the Knicks have offered shooting guard Wilson Chandler. But with more than a month remaining until the start of NBA training camps, Cho is waiting to see what else becomes available.
All I can do now is stand on the rooftop and scream, 'He's not coming!' He's just not coming back. I've made that clear.” -- Andy Miller, Rudy Fernandez's agent
Fernandez grew disgruntled as his role diminished in his second NBA season, and he told several Spanish news organizations earlier this summer that he wants to be traded or released from his contract so he can return to Spain to play professionally.
"That has been pretty much their position all summer, and Rich Cho is working on that. We know that situation and we've got to fix it," McMillan said. "The thing is, we're going to look at what's going to be best for the organization. Rudy is a very good player, a talented player that we like, and you just don't let a player like that go in a situation like this. He's keeping his ears open to what teams are saying, but that's not something we feel we're going to be forced into doing."
Miller told The Oregonian that Fernandez has grown so frustrated by the impasse that he no longer wants to play in the NBA.
"All I can do now is stand on the rooftop and scream, 'He's not coming!' He's just not coming back. I've made that clear," Miller said. "I would like to have an amicable divorce."
Fernandez underwent back surgery in December and had a reduced role playing behind Brandon Roy, averaging 8.1 points in 23.2 minutes after averaging 10.4 points and 25.5 minutes while setting an NBA rookie record with 159 3-pointers in 2008-09.
"Last year, bringing in Andre Miller and having Steve Blake, we were starting with four guards. And he's playing behind an All-Star in Brandon Roy, and he's a 2 [shooting guard], and neither one of those guys is a 3 [small forward]. So the minutes were cut simply because we had a four-guard rotation," McMillan said.
"I think in all team sports you have situations where people want more, and yet you have to make sacrifices. For us, last year we had a very deep team where we could play 10 guys if we were healthy, and not only was [Fernandez] feeling that way, Jarryd Bayless was feeling that way, and Martell Webster was feeling that way," McMillan said.
McMillan also said he was "not offended" by Fernandez's comments that he disliked McMillan's offensive system, which relegated him to being more of a spot-up shooter than a playmaker.
The Blazers acquired Fernandez on draft night in 2008, sending $3 million to Phoenix for the 24th overall pick.
Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN.com.
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