The Pacers and Trail Blazers head into today having each won 11 of their last 14 contests, but both teams will be in for tough matchups at home tonight, as the Knicks arrive in Indiana and the Heat play in Portland. As we look forward to what should be a fun TNT doubleheader, let's check in on a few afternoon links from around the NBA:
- While the Knicks have inquired on Kenyon Martin, they won't make a decision on the free agent big man one way or another until they determine Rasheed Wallace's timetable, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
- One NBA team executive predicts to Ian Thomsen of SI.com that if DeMarcus Cousins becomes available, there won't be as much interest as there might have been in the past. "We do all of this research and background work on players now before we draft them," said the exec. "I think half of the consideration when we look at players now is trying to understand who these guys are as people. I really do think that most teams are going to say they don't want any part of him."
- Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News thinks that the Lakers should trade Dwight Howard for Dirk Nowitzki. However, even if the Lakers were interested in such a move, which seems extremely unlikely, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wouldn't be, as he tells David Baumann of Sports Talk Florida: "No knock on Dwight, I just won't trade Dirk" (Twitter link).
- Although he signed a three-year deal overseas this past offseason, Rudy Fernandez isn't ruling out an eventual return to the NBA, writes CNN.com's Paul Gittings.
- The Cavaliers should attempt to make a play for Rudy Gay, suggests Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio.
- Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post wonders if Wilson Chandler's return to the Nuggets lineup could lead to a trade, either of Chandler or another player.
11:24pm: Real Madrid has officially announced the deal for Fernandez, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
WEDNESDAY, 8:43am: Fernandez's deal is for nine million Euros over three years, tweets ESPN.com's Marc Stein. At the moment, that works out to about $11.31MM.
TUESDAY, 2:31pm: Rudy Fernandez has agreed to sign a three-year contract with Spain's Real Madrid, according to Marca.com (Spanish link translated by Sportando). Fernandez himself confirmed via Twitter (Spanish link) that his new contract will officially be announced tomorrow.
Fernandez, a first-round pick in 2007, has been in the NBA since the 2008/09 season. He played three seasons for Portland before being traded to the Nuggets last offseason. His 2011/12 season with Denver was cut short when he underwent back surgery
in March. In 249 career NBA games, the 27-year-old averaged 9.1 points in 24 minutes per game.
Because the Nuggets didn't extend Fernandez a qualifying offer, the shooter will be free to sign with any NBA team if he ever decides to return.
We already heard from new Blazers' general manager Neil Olshey tonight, who implied that he all but has his mind made up that the man to fill Portland's coaching vacancy should be interim head coach Kaleb Canales. Portland is one of multiple franchises that needs to make decisions coaching and front office decisions this offseason. Let's look at some of those latest rumors as well as a couple more notes from around the league on this Tuesday night:
- Speaking of Portland, former Blazers exec Tom Penn has emerged as a candidate for the Orlando Magic general manager job, says Ken Berger of CBS Sports. Penn teamed up with Kevin Pritchard in Portland and the Magic could now be looking to duplicate the duo's success in Orlando.
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer takes a look at the Bobcats, saying that they have concluded their coaching interviews and it is uncertain when they will make a decision.
- Stephen Litel of HoopsWorld analyzes the Timberwolves offseason outlook. The Wolves have a lot of decisions to make and have said they plan to be aggressive. Litel doesn't know how much they can actually get done in terms of impact moves, but he offers three names as more realistic options that should interest Minnesota: Kevin Martin, Courtney Lee and Rudy Fernandez.
- Mike Peticca of the Cleveland Plain Dealer mulls over the potential draft options for the Cavaliers at pick number four. Bradley Beal seems to be a popular name for Cleveland, but Peticca says there are indications that he will be gone.
- USA Today published their latest mock draft, courtesy of Steve Kyler at HoopsWorld.
Given the lack of competition for the top head coach candidates, the Magic have been able to proceed deliberately in their search for Stan Van Gundy's replacement. With the Knicks and Wizards retaining interim coaches and the 7-59 Bobcats the only other club interviewing candidates, Orlando hasn't had to worry about missing out on a head coach until now, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Robbins writes that the Trail Blazers and new GM Neil Olshey could end up replacing Kaleb Canales, and that many of the same candidates the Magic are eyeing could have interest in the Portland job.
As the Magic decide whether to accelerate their coaching search, let's round up a few more odds and ends from around the Association....
Rudy Fernandez will undergo surgery on his lower back and will likely miss the remainder of the season, according to the Nuggets. Fernandez has missed time this year with a lower back strain, and had the injury flare up on Monday, prompting further evaluation.
The Nuggets should still be well-stocked at the wing despite losing Fernandez, as Aaron J. Lopez of Nuggets.com points out via Twitter. However, it could be another blow for the Spanish Olympic team, depending on Fernandez's recovery time, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
Fernandez averaged 8.6 PPG on 44% shooting in 31 games for the Nuggets this season, after the team acquired him from Dallas in December. The 26-year-old is in the final year of his contract, so if the Nuggets don't expect him back this season and require a roster spot to add another player, he's a candidate to be cut. Fernandez will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Trail Blazers president Larry Miller addressed a few Portland-related topics last night, and Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge has the quotes. Here are the highlights:
- Miller says the Blazers will revisit their general manager search at season's end, and that no permanent GM will be hired before then: "At the end of the season we'll evaluate it and see if at that point, do we still need to go out and find somebody? Or is [Acting GM] Chad [Buchanan] the guy who can be comfortable moving into that role?" (Twitter link)
- Miller still thinks acquiring Raymond Felton was the right decision, based on Felton's career performance to that point. However, he concedes that it hasn't worked out as the team hoped: "Raymond, to us, was a player who could be a part of this team going forward. He could be a future piece of this team... He clearly hasn't lived up to that this year. Hopefully the second half of the season we'll get to see the Raymond that we traded for" (Twitter link).
- "Rudy had a good run here but it seemed like it had kind of soured a bit," said Miller, addressing the team's trade of Rudy Fernandez, in the same deal that landed them Felton. Added Miller: "Even the fans had soured a bit on Rudy" (Twitter link).
- Current Blazer and former Nugget Marcus Camby talked to Chris Smith of Nuggets.com about his season and his continued ties to Denver.