Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.
Rudy situation will soon reach a boil
Here's a curious bit of information to consider among the Rudy Fernandez rumors that have been on-going all summer: new Trail Blazers general manager Rich Cho has yet to make a call to Donnie Walsh to pick up trade discussions where they left off with former GM Kevin Pritchard.
There has been talk about a three-way deal that Walsh reportedly turned down recently that would have sent Anthony Randolph to the Pacers for a first-round pick that would have then gone to Portland for Fernandez, but multiple sources said the talks only involved the Pacers seeking Randolph for a first. Of course the Knicks could have used that first round pick -- which had been Portland's initial asking price for Fernandez -- to then get Rudy and fill a need at the 2G spot, but, from what I'm told, that was never in the conversation.
Pritchard and Walsh spoke in June, before the NBA Draft, about a swap of two second round picks for Fernandez, but Pritchard declined. There were rumors that Walsh offered Wilson Chander for Fernandez, but now we're hearing that Chandler wasn't offered. What's more accurate is that Chandler was mentioned as a player the Knicks believed they could move to get a first round pick if they wanted to.
Here's the catch: word is, via backchannels, that the Blazers want a high first round pick, meaning they don't want one that is lottery protected. That's an extremely high price to demand for a player whom everyone knows at this point is quite unhappy in Portland and clearly wants out. In fact, he wants out so bad that he took a $25,000 fine a few weeks ago for allowing his agent, Andy Miller, to speak out about being traded or perhaps opting to just stay home in Spain rather than report to training camp in Portland.
The Spanish guard, who is averaging 13 points and 6.5 rebound per game in six games in the World Championships in Turkey, has several Europe-based agents in his ear, much like Ricky Rubio has had since the 2009 draft: they're all claiming they can get him to New York. But the reality is no one can make a deal happen until Cho picks up the phone and calls Walsh.
Here's the catch, however: don't expect the Knicks to raise their offer. Two seconds, take it or leave it.
Fernandez is scheduled to make $1.2M this season with a $2.1M team option for 2011-12. Cho told a Portland radio station that the team will not release Fernandez' rights so he could play in Europe and added that he has "been active in talking to a lot of teams." If that's true, multiple sources tell me he hasn't talked to the Knicks. The most logical reason, as we've been told, is that the Blazers have little reason to send Fernandez where he wants to go, which is to New York, and will instead solicit better offers elsewhere.
The Blazers have $9.2M reasons to play Wesley Matthews and have a very athletic Jerryd Bayless, who is a better fit with Brandon Roy. They were hoping Fernandez would play well in the FIBAs to perhaps raise his trade value. Fernandez has looked good at times for Spain, which is playing without Pau Gasol and is 4-2 so far in the tournament (they play Serbia in the quarterfinals on Wednesday), but he's hardly turned out performances that make him a must-have. And, as training camps approach, potential suitors are dwindling. The Bulls have Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver and just signed Keith Bogans. The Celtics had an interest, but already have Ray Allen, Nate Robinson, Marquis Daniels and the recently-added Delonte West.
The Knicks, with Kelenna Azubuike's readiness still in question, could certainly use help at the 2G spot and his perimeter shooting and athleticism would fit, but not at the cost of one of the team's young, talented wings, which could be better used to complete a future deal for a Carmelo Anthony or Chris Paul.