Dallas Mavericks: Real Madrid

Coop in Europe: Mavs take in 'El Clasico'

October, 7, 2012
10/07/12
5:51
PM CT
ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Chuck Cooperstein, aka "The Voice of the Mavericks", is with the Dallas Mavericks on their first European excursion and will blog on the team's events daily for ESPNDallas.com.

The travel day was the true fun day for the Mavericks. The majority of the team, along with other members of the traveling party, received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch "El Clasico" between two of the greatest soccer clubs in the world: Spanish sides FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The archrivals feature the two biggest superstars in soccer in Argentina's Lionel Messi, who plays for Barcelona, and Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo of Real.

The Mavs' biggest soccer fans are, understandably, the guys who grew up with the game in Dirk Nowitzki and Rodrigue Beaubois. But it doesn't take a whole lot of background in the game to know when you're watching Messi and Ronaldo, it's like watching Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in their respective primes. So dominant, and so brilliant. You can't take your eyes off of them. Both scored all of their teams' goals in a 2-2 draw, which included a breathtaking bender from Messi on a free kick from 20-plus yards out that literally made the stadium shake.

The atmosphere was incredibly electric. Camp Nou, the home of Barcelona, seats 98,000 and is carved out of a neighborhood. The best way to describe it would be to say it is a combination of Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field and the Rose Bowl. The chanting starts 30 minutes before the game and barely lets up through 90 minutes. The atmosphere was even more charged because of Spain's political unrest. Catalonia, where Barcelona is located, is making more than just a little noise about trying to break away from Spain because of what it perceives to be wasteful spending of tax money, most of which is provided by the region.

While there were testy moments on the pitch, it was peaceful in the stands. Of course, when you place the opponents' fans at the top of the stadium and throw up netting in front of them, the chances for craziness are reduced just a tad.

Notes:

The Mavericks arrived in Barcelona in mid-afternoon (morning Dallas time). They will have a regular practice Monday and then play FC Barcelona on Tuesday night (afternoon in Dallas). ... Beaubois' remains in a boot after he sprained his left ankle late in the third quarter against Alba Berlin.

Rudy Fernandez expected in camp and happy

November, 29, 2011
11/29/11
2:43
PM CT
Contrary to a report out of Spain on Monday, Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Rudy Fernandez will be in Dallas next week, not to ask for a buyout and return to Madrid, as the report suggests, but to enthusiastically begin training camp with his new teammates.

The Spanish media outlet is only stirring the drama pot, a person with knowledge of Fernandez's thinking said Tuesday, calling the report, "gossip." Fernandez has been in and out of the news throughout the offseason with overseas reports speculating that he would prefer to return to Spain full-time immediately and not fulfill the final year on his NBA contract.

"It's all garbage," the source said. "He's coming back as soon as the [deal] is ratified. He is excited to play for Dallas."

Fernandez did sign a long-term contract with Real Madrid this summer that will allow him to resume his career there after this NBA season if he chooses. Fernandez has been playing for the team during the lockout. A minor knee injury sustained on Sunday will have him sidelined approximately a week. Fernandez is contractually obligated to return to the NBA once the lockout is lifted.

After this season, Fernandez will be a restricted free agent. He can entertain contract offers from the Mavs and other NBA teams or decide to return to his home country and play for Real Madrid under a contract that will make him one of the league's richest players in history.

The lockout remains in force until the tentatively agreed upon labor deal is ratified by both sides so Mavs management cannot comment on its players. Privately, they are confident that Fernandez is excited to report to training camp and will do so with the intention of fulfilling the length of his contract.

Asked if Fernandez could seek a buyout during the season if he becomes unhappy with his role, the source said it is impossible to speculate, but that Fernandez is committed to the Mavs for this season. Dallas is crowded at shooting guard, but the 6-foot-6 Fernandez, who will enter his fourth season in the league after spending three seasons with Portland, could emerge as the starter.

In late September, a source said that Fernandez planned to use this season as a "test period" to better determine his plan for next season.

"He has to figure out if he likes it [in Spain] and he has to see if he likes the Mavs,” the source said then.

Rudy Fernandez using season as 'test period'

September, 26, 2011
9/26/11
12:36
PM CT
Rudy Fernandez plans to use this season -- partly in Spain during the NBA lockout and later for the Dallas Mavericks, assuming the season will be saved – as a “test period” to decide where he wants to resume his career a year from now.

“He has to figure out if he likes it [in Spain] and he has to see if he likes the Mavs,” said a source with knowledge of Fernandez’s thinking.

A week ago Fernandez agreed to a contract with Real Madrid of the Spanish Liga Endesa, which recently changed its name from the ACB League. The deal includes an opt-out clause for this season and Fernandez will join the Mavs when the lockout is lifted.

The deal also allows Fernandez next summer to explore his best option, either a return to Real Madrid or remain in the NBA. Under the NBA’s expired collective bargaining agreement, Fernandez is due to become a restricted free agent after this season with a $3.2 million qualifying offer.

The Mavs, who traded the 26th pick in the June draft -- former Texas Longhorn Jordan Hamilton -- to Portland (who then shipped him to the Denver Nuggets) for the 6-foot-6 shooting guard, can match any offer for Fernandez by other NBA teams.

“All of that will come out next summer,” the source said of Fernandez’s final decision.

If money is the end game, the Mavs likely either won’t be able to compete with Real Madrid’s offer or simply won’t want to. Reports out of Spain earlier this summer suggested that Real Madrid was prepared to make Fernandez the highest-paid player in the league, in the neighborhood of $4.3 million a season.

“Real Madrid,” the source said, “can smash the [Mavs’] qualifying offer.”

The Mavs acquired Fernandez to provide an athletic, youthful shooter around its aging core of veterans as it seeks to defend the franchise’s first NBA title. Dallas, in full-blown win-now mode, placed more value in trading for a veteran player than breaking in another rookie on a roster it knows has a limited shelf life.

Whether the Mavs would have gone through with the trade had they realized Fernandez’s potential desire to return to Spain after one season is uncertain. NBA clubs are prohibited from speaking about current players during the lockout.

Fernandez, the source said, is excited to join the world champs, but also said that he was a bit surprised to be traded to Dallas because of its stable of shooting guards that includes veteran Jason Terry and developing talents in Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones. The Mavs have also said they hope to re-sign unrestricted free agent DeShawn Stevenson. Corey Brewer, acquired last season, is also an option at two-guard.

Re-signing Stevenson, a defensive standout and 3-point shooter in the Mavs’ march to the championship, could prove difficult and it would open a potential starting spot for Fernandez.

In his first three seasons in the NBA with Portland, Fernandez averaged 9.1 points on 39.4 percent shooting from the floor and 36.4 percent from 3-point range. His numbers dropped off in the playoffs, bottoming out last season with a miserable first-round series against the Mavs. He averaged 2.8 points on 22.2 percent shooting in just 13.8 minutes a game.

Some point to Portland’s low-possession offense as being a poor fit Fernandez, who might feel more comfortable playing in Dallas’ flow offense led by point guard Jason Kidd and anchored by Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki.

Is Rudy Fernandez close to a Madrid deal?

August, 15, 2011
8/15/11
11:45
AM CT
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.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Monta Ellis
PTS AST STL MIN
20.9 4.5 1.7 34.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 11.9
AssistsR. Rondo 9.3
StealsR. Rondo 2.0
BlocksT. Chandler 1.4