Rudy Fernandez To Put Off European Return Until Mavericks' Contract Ends, Says Report

A weekend report out of Spain indicated that Real Madrid had offered shooting guard Rudy Fernandez a six-year deal worth $25 million that would begin for the 2011-12 season and, assuming the NBA season does start at some point, would allow the gunner to finish the final year of his deal with the Dallas Mavericks. But a report in Tuesday's Marca indicates that Fernandez will instead wait until the end of the next NBA season before making a decision on returning to Spain to join Real Madrid or another team, or staying in the NBA. (Via Hoopshype.)

That simplifies the equation, of course: FIBA would have been in a sticky situation judging whether Fernandez had the right to sign a contract with a Spanish club with contractual obligations remaining in the NBA. The issue is likely to come to a head with a player before long; many players under NBA contract, including Fernandez's recent former teammate Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers, have flirted with signing European contracts. FIBA, which sanctions more than 100 legit pro basketball leagues, has a fairly strict policy of not allowing players with unresolved contract issues in one league playing for another. 

The question that will likely decide whether NBA players are allowed to ply their trade in Europe, South America or Asia during the lockout is whether those players' NBA contracts for 2011-12 are considered valid. Until and unless the NBA officially cancels the 2011-12 season, it's hard to see FIBA agreeing that that is the case. As such, Fernandez, who was acquired by the NBA champion Mavericks during the 2011 NBA Draft in the Raymond Felton-Andre Miller deal, is taking the smart route by delaying his decision until after the 2011-12 season has been resolved.

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