Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dallas Mavericks [Print without images]

Monday, August 15, 2011
Reports: Rudy Fernandez gone after season

By Jeff Caplan

According to Spanish media reports, Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Rudy Fernandez has indeed now agreed to a four-year deal to return to Spain and play for Real Madrid.

Fernandez will finish out his rookie contract with the Mavs, assuming the lockout does not wipe out the 2011-12 season. But, after the season, according to the report, Fernandez is prepared to leave the NBA after four seasons. The report says Fernandez will earn about $4.3 million a season in Spain.

In April, Fernandez terminated agent Andy Miller and hired Spanish agent David Carro.

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, 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 Fernandez and point guard Petteri Koponen on draft night, giving up first-round pick Jordan Hamilton from Texas and second-round pick Tanguy Ngombo.

The Mavs' front office is prohibited from speaking to or about players during the lockout.

It certainly isn't out of bounds to wonder if Mavs owner Mark Cuban and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson would  have been so quick to jettison youth if they weren't confident they would be able to retain Fernandez beyond one season -- a season that appears headed for at least a delayed start.

After winning the franchise's first NBA championship, the veteran-laden Mavs are in win-now mode, so it is possible that they still would have taken the risk to bring in Fernandez if for only next season.