For this being the off season, we sure have been busy.
There was the draft, complete with the KP situation and Martell Webster trade, the process of learning the picks, summer league, the free-agent signing of Wesley Matthews, the hiring of Rich Cho to be the new GM, the hiring of three new assistant coaches, and now this Rudy situation (and I didn't even include all the Chris Paul chatter).
This stuff with Rudy hasn't exactly been a shock. Even casual fans could see trouble brewing with this relationship. But, with what's gone on lately, which has led to a major backlash from fans against Rudy, kind of came out of left field. Many people near the situation have been scratching their heads because, as they say, nothing has really changed.
Yes, Rudy has made some statements to the Spanish press about his situation, but I didn't exactly find those comments to be surprising, nor inflammatory. He's looking for a bigger role, which we've always known, and thinks perhaps he'd be better off with another team, either in the NBA or in Europe.
But, to my original point, there hasn't exactly been a trade demand or an "ultimatum" that should have caused the uproar we've seen surrounding this story this week. Fans have been waiting for this other shoe to drop, like has been reported will happen very, very soon. If that's the case, apparently no one has bothered to tell the only two sides that actually count in this case- Rudy and the Blazers.
Late Wednesday night, Brian T. Smith of The Columbian wrote a piece stating exactly that. In his piece, Smith stated the following:
"Portland Trail Blazers guard Rudy Fernandez has not delivered an "ultimatum" to the team and there has not been a significant change in ongoing negotiations between the sides during the past week, a league source with knowledge about the situation told The Columbian on Wednesday.
The source described the relationship between Fernandez and the Blazers as "symbiotic." Fernandez believes that he has done everything he can to adapt to his place in Portland's system. Meanwhile, the Blazers feel that they have done everything within their power to accommodate the second-year guard from Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
The source conceded that the relationship is not working and that it is "time for a divorce." But at the same time, the person said that nothing substantial has changed since The Columbian reported
last Wednesday that the Blazers were willing to trade the disgruntled 25-year-old and the team was actively exploring its options."
To read Smith's entire piece (and it's very enlightening), click here
I can't say that I really blame Rudy for possibly looking for a different situation, and I certainly don't think the Blazers have been slow to react to his wishes. What's the rush?
What is still the case in this situation, and what has been the case all along, the Trail Blazers hold all the cards as it concerns Fernandez. They're not going to dump him for nothing, and certainly aren't in a hurry to pull the trigger on a deal involving Rudy. They have no reason to be in a hurry. And, according to Smith's source, it doesn't exactly sound like Rudy's camp is hitting the panic button either.
In short, the Trail Blazers will likely make an effort to accommodate a change, only when it makes sense for them to do so. After all, they originally acquired his rights, own them, and are paying him.
I also know that Blazer fans have come down pretty hard on The Oregonian's Jason Quick, who really lit a fire with this story earlier in the week by basically saying some big-time drama is on the way for the team in the next 24 to 48 hours, and evidently was referring to Rudy's situation. That got everyone's attention, and people were frustrated when nothing really came of it. I'll just say this- Jason is very well sourced around the NBA, has been at this a long time, and doesn't have a history of just tossing stuff against the wall to see if it sticks. That would be irresponsible and that's not what he does.
Quick obviously had a reason why he reported what he did, and had to have gotten some information that led him to believe this was coming to a head in a hurry. That's why it's interesting now to hear both sides say that nothing significant has changed in this case. I refuse to believe Jason simply made it up to draw attention to himself. That's not how he operates. I give him the benefit of the doubt, and it's true that where there's smoke there is usually fire. It just seems like this is perhaps a well-controlled burn, and not the out-of-control blaze everyone thinks it is. And isn't that usually the case when you're dealing with rumors?
As you probably know, agents are responsible for a lot of what gets leaked in stories like this. But, Rudy's agent, Andy Miller, is very reputable, and hasn't gone on the record confirming or denying anything. Whoever is being sourced, from Rudy's camp, sounds like they're agreeing that nothing has really changed from the initial reports.
Obviously, Blazers general manager Rich Cho is very aware of the situation and simply continues to say that he's going to make the best decision for the franchise going forward.
It seems clear that whatever decision will be made in this case likely won't come soon. Of course, that could change if an offer lands in Portland's lap that's too good to pass up. That hasn't happened yet.