Blazers, Fernandez ready for divorce

JOHN McMULLEN, SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 12:36 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Rudy Fernandez has more than enough ability to play a major role on a top-tier NBA team.

I'm just not sure he wants to.

The disgruntled Trail Blazers swingman has been griping about his playing time for Nate McMillan in the Pacific Northwest after he averaged 8.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists last season, a year after bursting on the NBA scene by setting an NBA rookie record with 159 3-pointers.

Fernandez's agent, Andy Miller, went public on Wednesday informing several media outlets that the Spanish star wants to return to Europe and is willing to sit out for the next two seasons, the time left on his Portland deal.

That's just posturing, of course, but it was enough to get the NBA's attention and the league fined Fernandez $25,000 on Thursday for comments "detrimental" to the league.

Detrimental may be a bit of a stretch, but rules are rules and the NBA strictly prohibits players or their representation from publicly requesting a trade.

And make no mistake, that's what this is about. Fernandez, who is currently playing for the Spanish national team as it prepares for the upcoming world championships, wants out of Rip City and is trying to force the hand of rookie general manager Rich Cho.

Cho, who seems a bit perturbed at Fernandez's constant complaining to a sympathetic international press, has already admitted to looking at several scenarios for moving the Spaniard, but has been mimicking MSNBC's Chris Matthews and playing hardball.

Cho is well aware that this will be regarded as his first real test as Portland's basketball chief, and doesn't want to take less back in order to rid himself of a headache that is extremely popular with his fans thanks to the energy he brings to the floor.

A divorce is still on the docket but Cho may steer Fernandez away from his real preferred destination, New York.

The Knicks have reportedly offered athletic swingman Wilson Chandler for the sharp-shooting Fernandez but Chandler isn't Rudy's equal on the court and was recently arrested in May for marijuana possession during a traffic stop in Queens, something that isn't going to sit well with an organization desperately trying to rid itself of its former 'Jail Blazers' reputation.

Chicago may be the better option. The Bulls have already offered to absorb Fernandez's $1.25 million salary for 2010-11 with cap space in exchange for a future first-round pick. Cho is still holding out for Taj Gibson, a second- year player with a big upside as a defender.

The only certainty in this breakup is that Fernandez is more concerned about being the big fish in a small pond rather than the guppy swimming with the big boys.


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