Sep 27, 2011, 11:16 AM EDT
To start this season he will be playing for Real Madrid (unless the owners and players union solve the lockout in the next week… so Fernandez can go ahead buy those non-refundable tickets to Spain). When the lockout ends, he will return to Dallas where he will step into a key role stretching the floor for the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks (he will get Peja Stojakovic‘s old role, with added minutes).
Then he becomes a free agent. His deal with Real Madrid paves the way for him to return to Spain, or he could stay in Dallas. This season will be a test for his fit with the Mavs, according to ESPNDallas.com.
If money is the end game, the Mavs likely either won’t be able to compete with Real Madrid’s offer or simply won’t want to. Reports out of Spain earlier this summer suggested that Real Madrid was prepared to make Fernandez the highest-paid player in the league, in the neighborhood of $4.3 million a season.
“Real Madrid,” the source said, “can smash the [Mavs’] qualifying offer.”
Under the old labor agreement, the Mavs could offer Fernandez no more than $3.2 million for the 2012-13 season, and that number is likely to go down under the new deal.
Fernandez spent last summer trying to get Portland to release him so he could go back to Spain. Smart money says that’s where he heads after one more NBA season, but Mark Cuban has changed a few minds in his life. Stranger things have happened.
At least Fernandez has options.