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Fernandez intrigued, but can Knicks close deal?

Portland Trail Blazers' Rudy Fernandez (5), celebrates a

Portland Trail Blazers' Rudy Fernandez (5), celebrates a successful three-point shot against the Denver Nuggets during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland. (April 15, 2009) Photo Credit: AP

The Knicks are on the wish list of yet another NBA player who is seeking a trade, but just like with Chris Paul, the Knicks don't appear to have what it takes to make a deal for Rudy Fernandez.

The Trail Blazers shooting guard, who was an All-Rookie selection two seasons ago, has struggled in a reduced role behind all-star Brandon Roy. The Knicks have inquired a few times over the last year about acquiring Fernandez but have never been able to come up with a solution.

"They just don't have anything [Portland] would want," a person with knowledge of the situation told Newsday.

An NBA source said that the Blazers would prefer to receive a first-round pick for Fernandez, which is a problem for the Knicks because they gave up their 2012 pick to the Rockets in the February trade for Tracy McGrady that helped clear more salary cap space for this summer's foray in free agency. NBA rules prohibit a team from trading first-round picks in consecutive years, so the Knicks cannot make that move until 2014. The source said the Blazers are not interested in waiting four years when they almost assuredly would not have to wait as long with another team. The Oregonian reported Wednesday that the Bulls and Celtics were also interested.

Just like the Hornets with Paul, the Blazers are under no pressure to move Fernandez immediately. He has a $2.1-million team option for 2011-12. But there has been talk that Fernandez, 25, might decide to stay in Spain and wait until his contract expires and then finish his career in Europe. Fellow countrymen such as Juan Carlos Navarro, Jorge Garbajosa and Sergio Rodriguez left the NBA to return to the European game after similar discontent.

The Knicks have the salary-cap space to add Fernandez's very affordable $1.2-million salary for this season, but a package of second-round picks and the rights to one of this year's second-round picks, Andy Rautins or Landry Fields, isn't enough, according to the source. One avenue the Knicks could consider is to try to include a third team and use Wilson Chandler as bait to acquire a first-round pick. But multiple sources say the Knicks have been hesitant to give up the 23-year-old Chandler, despite the overabundance of wings on the roster.

Though other teams are likely to get involved, a source close to Fernandez said the Knicks have always been at the top of his wish list. The Knicks have a need at the shooting guard position and Fernandez, a 38.7-percent shooter from three-point range and talented playmaker, fits the Mike D'Antoni system well.

Kelenna Azubuike, Bill Walker and Fields as the only traditional shooting guards on the Knicks' roster, though Chandler and Danilo Gallinari could see time at the position.

The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, MSG and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.


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