By one point of view, what Rudy Fernandez announced via Twitter (in Spanish only) on Tuesday afternoon is an admission of defeat. After four seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets, Fernandez will return to Spain to play for Real Madrid (his temporary employer during the 2011 lockout). It's a three-year contract, which will put Fernandez at 30 years old when it ends. Barring a drastic change, Fernandez will probably never play in the NBA again.
His time in America was a disappointment. When Fernandez came to the Blazers in 2008, he had just impressed the world with several terrific performances for Spain (including one very memorable dunk on Dwight Howard in the final). On top of that, he was no flash in the pan, playing several seasons in the top non-NBA league in the world and producing like an NBA-quality player. The expectation for many was that Fernandez would join with Brandon Roy to create the best shooting-guard tandem in the league, and that they'd team with healthy big man Greg Oden and power forward LaMarcus Aldridge to create a championship contender. Portland already looked like a growing power — adding Fernandez was like if the 19th-century British empire suddenly developed fighter jets.Read More »from Rudy Fernandez is bound for Spain after four NBA seasons