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Monday, August 15, 2011
Is Rudy Fernandez close to a Madrid deal?

By Jeff Caplan

The newest member of the Dallas Mavericks, shooting guard Rudy Fernandez, is apparently close to becoming the newest member of Real Madrid.

Back in early July, Fernandez had reportedly turned down an offer from Real Madrid that would make the 6-foot-5 Spaniard the highest paid player in the  ACB, arguably Europe's strongest league in Spain. That deal was reported to be for around $26 million over six seasons.

There are new reports out of Spain that Fernandez has agreed to a four-year deal with Real Madrid to begin playing this season. However, Hoopshype.com reports, according to a source, that the deal is close, but not yet complete. The report states that Fernandez, who will enter the final year of his NBA rookie contract with the Mavs (if and when there is a season), is not closing the door to remaining in the NBA after next season even if he agrees to the Real Madrid offer.

As is the case with all NBA players who opt to play overseas during a lockout, Fernandez would have an out clause that allow him to join the Mavs once the lockout is lifted.

It is not clear, however, how signing a multi-year deal with Real Madrid would affect Fernandez's ability to re-sign with the Mavs or any other team next summer. Under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement that expired July 1, Fernandez would earn $2.2 million next season with Dallas and could become a restricted free agent with a $3.2 million qualifying offer for the 2012-13 season.

Fernandez's agent did not immediately return a message. The Mavs' front office is prohibited from talking about players during the lockout.

Fernandez, who will play at the Eurobasket with defending champion Spain starting later this month, averaged 8.6 ppg, 2.5 apg and 1.1 spg mostly in a reserve role with the Portland Trail Blazers last season. The Mavs traded for on draft night.