A couple minor news items came out over the past few days, and I didn't feel like creating a whole blog post for either, but on another slow August day (is there a worse month in sports than August? Seriously?) I figure it's worth an update.
First, Rudy Fernandez no longer wants to play in the NBA, or at least he's willing to say that in hopes of getting his release from the Blazers.
"He has indicated he would like to return to Europe to continue his basketball career," Miller told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday. "He is more comfortable in Europe. He'd rather be in Europe than the NBA. He understands the circumstances in which he wouldn't be coming back. I don't see any scenario in which he'd want to be back."
Well I can think of a scenario where Rudy would love to return to the NBA. One where he's not on the Blazers and isn't losing a couple million dollars a year over what Europe would pay him.
Rudy's gone on to discuss how he was depressed last season, doesn't like his role, and feels the Blazers broke promises. I'm not going to jump on him. This is a guy who probably lost about 6 million bucks so far by coming to the NBA and doesn't feel he's had an appropriate chance to play his style of game to earn a quality NBA contract.
I'm sure promises were made given how much he had to leave on the table to come over, and so he has every right to be pissed off that those promises were broken.
However, while I understand Rudy's plight, at this point, he's certainly made himself undesirable for teams to trade for him. That may certainly be his intention as it's likely he's being incredibly straight forward when he says this isn't what he wants, and he wants to play in Europe again.
As for Xavier Henry, he's still battling with Memphis over whether a few hundred thousand in his contract will be guaranteed or not, and what types of things need to happen to make that money guaranteed.
The center of the argument hinges on Memphis desire to make part of his money incentive based on achieving one of three metrics (all rookie team, rookie / sophomore team inclusion, or 15 minutes a game for 70+ games). It's common to have incentives in contracts (virtually every rookie contract now has them), but performance incentives are rare in rookie contracts.
Is Memphis pushing the envelope too hard here? I'd think they are well within their rights to try to push it however they want. As noted on shamsports creative financing in the NBA article, this is a tactic the Spurs have used all the time.
I think the difference here is that Henry isn't a late 1st rounder. He's a lottery pick. Given that these types of incentives seem awfully rare, it seems very difficult to understand why Memphis is trying to put them onto a top prospect. My guess is they simply feel burned by Hasheem Thabeet who sucked last season, but I'd say, "Hey, don't draft a guy who's destined to suck at #2" then.
Anyway, Memphis has now fielded calls from teams inquiring about Henry's availability. They've said they aren't looking to trade him, at least they said it to the media, but if they're really that hung up on a couple hundred thousand dollars in incentive money vs guaranteed money then you'd have to think they aren't that attached to him.
What can the Bulls do to get into this foray? They can offer up the Charlotte Bobcat's pick for Henry. Maybe the Bobcats pick and our own 2011 1st rounder for him. Henry isn't worth Taj Gibson. He's a project player, only 18, who wasn't the type of guy to take the NCAA by storm last year.
He has the potential to fit in excellently with what we need down the line. He should develop into a good spot up shooter, he has legit size to play SG though questionable athleticism. He's a decent all around player, but he still has a lot of work to do. In college he really struggled shooting off the dribble, wasn't explosive in attacking the basket, and may not project to defend well against SGs at the NBA level.
You can't give up Taj Gibson for a guy who's ceiling doesn't really project out higher than Gibson's, and who has a longer way to go to get there, and plays a less valuable position. Especially when Gibson backs up Boozer, your start PF with a long history of injury related problems.
The picks? I don't know, is Henry worth two picks? Is he even worth the Bobcats pick? Given that Henry's a project at this point, he'd only see the floor if he was given entitlement minutes. I'm not sure the Bulls are going to roll that way given that they're now one of the teams hoping for a championship instead of hoping to make it to the second round.
There's probably no way to piss off a team faster than to start handing out entitlement minutes to players, so why put that strain on Thibodeau in his first season when he's now got a ton of similarly talented guards on the roster already?
The idea of Henry is great (good spot up shooting 2 guard with legit size), but his performance on the court this season will fall well short of that idea. I don't think the Bulls are going to get in this discussion, nor do I think they should.