NBA AM: Rudy Fernandez, Real Madrid in Talks
Rudy Fernandez is once again negotiating with the Spanish club Real Madrid, according to multiple sources close to the situation. Despite recent reports that suggested otherwise, the talks between Fernandez and Real Madrid are still very much alive and have picked up steam in recent weeks.
Fernandez’s camp met with Real Madrid last week, and the two sides have remained in contact in recent days. A six-year deal starting at 2.5 million euros ($3,562,250) is currently being discussed, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations.
Fernandez’s salary would increase each season, but the first year of his deal would already pay him significantly more than the $2,180,443 that he was projected to make during the 2011-12 NBA season.
While the small forward’s deal may include a NBA-out, sources close to the situation believe that Fernandez wants to commit to Real Madrid long-term.
Unlike other NBA players signing overseas, Fernandez doesn’t view Spain as a temporary landing spot. He sees himself continuing his career with Real Madrid long after the lockout has ended. However, Fernandez has one year remaining on his NBA contract, which could force him to report to the Dallas Mavericks if the work stoppage ends in time to save the upcoming season.
Nothing is imminent between Fernandez and Real Madrid, but the two sides continue to work toward a deal.
“The talks aren’t dead at all,” said one source close to the situation. “Rudy is at the top of their list and they’re going to give him as much time as he needs to make a decision. The ball is in Rudy’s court. A lot of NBA players are interested in playing for Real Madrid, but it’s tough because it’s Rudy’s job to lose.”
Real Madrid held preliminary talks with approximately ten other NBA players in case they couldn’t sign Fernandez, but ended all other talks after meeting with his camp. The Spanish club would be eligible to sign another American player, but may not be able to afford anyone else with how much they’re currently offering Fernandez.
Later this month, Fernandez will represent Spain in EuroBasket 2011 alongside fellow NBA players Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Jose Calderon and Serge Ibaka. Shortly after the tournament ends, he could be donning a Real Madrid jersey if the talks continue to progress and the two sides reach a deal.
No Progress on Labor Talks: On Monday, the NBA labor talks resumed with owners and players meeting for two and a half hours in New York. It was the first time that the two sides had met since the lockout commenced, but no progress was made during the bargaining session.
“I don’t feel optimistic about the players’ willingness to engage in a serious way,” NBA commissioner David Stern told reporters. “Right now, we haven’t seen any movement. I think it’s fair to say we’re in the same place that we were 30 days ago.
Stern also said that he doesn’t believe the union is bargaining in good faith, which is something we’ve more commonly heard from the players in regards to the owners during this process.
One source briefed after the meeting said that “zero progress” was made in the meeting, but it appears the two sides will try to meet a few more times in August.
The sides remain very far apart and few sacrifices have been made. Many players and owners involved in the talks have been pessimistic when discussing the situation off the record and all signs seem to point to a lengthy lockout.
However, today was a step in the right direction, even though there wasn’t any movement.
“It was just important to restart this process and begin conversations again,” said Derek Fisher, the NBPA’s president. “We still realize that we’re very far apart, but without meeting, talking and discussion, there wouldn’t be any progress at all. That was important to really set the foundation today for continued meetings.”
Training camps are scheduled to open during the first week of October, which means the players and owners have just 60 days to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement before the possibility of missing preseason games becomes real.
This was the first of many meetings that will occur during the work stoppage. In the future, let’s hope the comments following the session are a bit more positive and optimistic.
Drew League vs. Goodman League: This summer, basketball fans have been treated to a number of dominant exhibition performances from NBA players.
LeBron James put on a show during a surprise Drew League appearance, Kevin Durant dropped 66 points in a Rucker Park game and John Wall shut down the NC Pro-AM. While all of these showings were entertaining, nothing can compare to the showdown that will take place on August 20 at Trinity University in Washington, DC.
Two of the most popular summer leagues in the country, the Drew League and the Goodman League, will organize teams and face off in a star-studded game that is expected to feature at least a ton of NBA players. The game, which has also been dubbed East Coast vs. West Coast, will be competitive and the best way for NBA fans to take their mind off of the current work stoppage.
The Goodman League will be represented by Kevin Durant, John Wall, Michael Beasley, Tyreke Evans, Ty Lawson, DeMarcus Cousins, Gary Neal, Donte Green, Sam Young and Josh Selby.
The Drew League will be represented by Brandon Jennings, DeMar DeRozan, JaVale McGee, James Harden, Nick Young, Craig Smith, Pooh Jeter, Bobby Brown and Marcus Williams.
Other players could still be added to the rosters, but even as is, this will be the closest thing to NBA basketball that fans will see in quite some time. Both sides are taking the contest very seriously and trash talking started weeks ago.
At the very least, the game will be streamed online, but organizers from both sides are still working to sell the television rights to a notable broadcast partner. For those that want to be in the building for the game, tickets went on sale last Friday, $25 for general admission and $60 for floor seats.
Mark your calendar, clear your mind of labor talks and get ready to enjoy some basketball.