Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rudy Fernandez Will Not Return to Blazers Next Season

According to Yahoo! Sports, Rudy Fernandez's agent says he will not return to Portland next season. In fact, Fernandez doesn't want to play in the NBA at all. Rudy is homesick and wants to return Europe to continue his career.

The Breakdown
With the abundance of swingmen on the Blazers, this won't be a huge blow. Fernandez, though, cannot play in Europe until his contract situation is resolved. Rudy is prepared to sit out the entire season if necessary, so some amicable settlement will surely be agreed upon.

For fantasy owners, the loss of Fernandez clears up the logjam on the wings and clarifies the reserve roles. Offseason acquisition Wesley Matthews will step in to fill the spot behind Brandon Roy. He could also get some time playing alongside Roy, a role that Fernandez sometimes played in previous years. At small forward, rookie Luke Babbitt should get an opportunity behind Nicolas Batum and he doesn't appear to have much competition for playing time either.

Before, it wasn't clear how the minutes would be divided between Batum, Fernandez, Matthews, and Babbitt. With Fernandez departing, everyone's role is much clearer and upgrades their fantasy value. I especially like Matthews as a late round sleeper given his clearer role and Roy's injury history. As for Fernandez, you might take a chance on him at the end of a very deep league just in case he has a change of heart or the Blazers don't let him out of his contract. In most leagues, though, you shouldn't waste a pick on him.

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