Rudy Fernandez wants to go home. In a case of receiving too much, too soon, the Portland shooting guard told El Mundo Deportivo, “If I could reach an agreement with Portland, so that they would not trade me to another NBA team and they would accept my return to Europe, I’d be pleased.”
He went on to add, “My agents are looking for the best trade for me, but at the end of the day only Portland can decide.”
Before he came to the NBA, Fernandez was drawing comparisons to another unusual foreign wing player in Manu Ginobili. Fernandez racked up a lot of individual accomplishments with DKV Joventut of the Spanish ACB League and really shot to stardom with 22 points in the gold medal game at the 2008 Olympics against the Redeem Team. In his final season in Europe, Fernandez dropped 16.1 points a game.
Expectations were high for him during a period when the prospects of the Blazers were even higher. Portland’s GM at the time, Kevin Pritchard, called him a “tremendous prospect who has excelled at the highest levels of international basketball.”
Looking back, Fernandez was a victim of his own hype. He not only never lived up to the player he was supposed to be – in two seasons, Fernandez was basically a three-point shooter (though he did set a rookie season record by making 159 threes) – but he was also thrust into a bad situation.
Portland was loaded at the wing position the last few seasons with people like Brandon Roy, Travis Outlaw, Martell Webster and Nicolas Batum. There just wasn’t enough PT to go around. And it’s tough to get burn when the team’s best player mans the same position as you.
Fernandez’s name came up in a lot of trade talks this offseason, including some rumblings he wanted to go to New York to play under Mike D’Antoni.
He never really developed into the star many pinned him to be, though some of that assuredly had to do with Portland’s roster. Now, it sounds like Fernandez wants to return to Spain to rekindle that aura.
What do you think? Is Fernandez better suited to play in Spain or should he take his chances with another team in the NBA?
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