Portland still trying to trade Rudy Fernandez, at least his agent thinks so

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Thumbnail image for nba_fernandez_250.jpgRudy Fernandez has gone where Chris Paul can’t — he has basically demanded a trade. The man wants out of Portland and away from Nate McMillan as fast as he can. Fernandez wants the ball in his hands, he envisions himself to be a playmaker. Portland already has those and McMillan just wants him to shoot. That makes Rudy sad.

New Portland General Manager Rich Cho is listening to offers. Can you blame him — who wouldn’t want to make a trade when you just get the power to green light one? But you’re going to have to wow Cho, his first trade will not be crap, as he told Jason Quick of the Oregonian.

“I’ve spoken to Andy and I’m aware of Rudy’s feelings,” Cho said. “But at the end of the day we are going to make the best decision for the franchise.”

Boston, Chicago and New York are all in the running for Fernandez, at least that’s what his agent, Andy Miller. However, he is an agent whose client wants to be on the move, so find yourself a salt flat before swallowing anything he says.

But there is interest, and those three teams make some sense.

Chicago could slide him right in at the two, where they had pictured JJ Redick would go. Of course, Redick is primarily a shooter and Rose is the guy making the plays with the ball in his hands, but Rudy wants out and Chicago is out. Chicago has been offering James Johnson to anyone and everyone this offseason, but Johnson and a pick may not be the best deal Cho will hear.

Boston has interest and they certainly could use depth and playmakers coming off the bench. But what are they going to offer? Rasheed Wallace and pick that likely will be near the bottom of the draft? Not thrilling either.

On the court, New York might be the best fit — Fernandez would fit well in Mike D’Antoni’s system and he gets to set up plays. The question is what would the Knicks offer to go with what could be a nice pick? Toney Douglas? That would certainly be an upgrade for the Knicks (as much as they like Douglas, who has real potential). Just a guess. But the Knicks have a roster of options, and more than one player could be involved.

Bottom line, there is some smoke. That smoke could become a real fire in the next 48 hours. Or Rudy could sulk on the Portland bench all next season. Which would make Rudy sad. And does anybody want to see that?

J.R. Smith replacing Dwyane Wade as Cavaliers’ starting shooting guard

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The Cavaliers are 2-1, but their starting lineups have been outscored by 19 points in 32 minutes. Dwyane Wade has been so bad as the starting shooting guard, his struggles have overshadowed J.R. Smith‘s miserable play as the backup.

But at least Wade volunteered a solution to this predictable problem.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Dwyane Wade is headed for the Cavaliers’ bench at his own request and J.R. Smith is returning to the starting lineup.

Wade, 35, a 12-time All-Star who struggled in his first three games with Cleveland, asked coach Tyronn Lue to make the change, Lue said. But this wasn’t exactly Wade’s idea, either.

Lue told him when he signed with the Cavs Sept. 27 that the second unit may be the best fit for him.

“I just decided, earlier than later, just to get to the unit where I’d be more comfortable in and can probably better with this team in that lineup,” Wade said. “Why wait? Three games in, why wait? Wanted to get in there with those guys.”

Cleveland’s starting lineup needs more shooting and defense around LeBron James – especially with Derrick Rose starting over an injured Isaiah Thomas (though Rose is out a couple games with his own ankle injury). Smith provides that.

Bench-heavy units need more playmaking. Wade provides that.

This was a tricky situation given Wade’s status as a future Hall of Famer and friendship with LeBron. Whether Wade simply suggested the change or Lue is trying to give Wade public credit after coaxing it behind the scenes, the result is the same.

The Cavs can now use their most logical rotation, and they should be better for it.

Suns GM Ryan McDonough: Eric Bledsoe hair-salon claim about tweet was unbelievable

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Eric Bledsoe reportedly requested a trade from the Suns before the season then tweeted yesterday:

Clear message?

Apparently not.

After sending home Bledsoe today, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough explained his rationale:

The hair salon! What a wonderful excuse.

Is it true? I’m not going to call Bledsoe a liar. It might be.

It’s also probably true that Bledsoe isn’t long for Phoenix.

Report: Suns send Eric Bledsoe home, expect to trade him

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In a shocking twist, the Suns firing Earl Watson did not end the dysfunction in Phoenix.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Bledsoe:

That is a first-rate tweet by Bledsoe. It’s great that he’s having fun with the wild situation, because the rest of us sure are amused peering in.

This was always going to be a long season in Phoenix, but things got out of hand in a hurry. The 0-3 Suns have been outscored by 92 – the worst three-game start in NBA history by 16 points. Now, comes the fallout.

At 27, Bledsoe was getting to be a little too old for a rebuild centered on Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender and T.J. Warren. The Suns could have dealt Bledsoe in the offseason. Now, they’re negotiating from a position of weakness.

Bledsoe is a good starting point guard when healthy. He’s earning a reasonable $14.5 million this season and due $15 million in the final year of his contract next season. There should be suitors, and Phoenix can gain long-term assets while stepping up its tank.

But this sure seems like a crisis-control move more than anything else.

Willy Hernangomez ‘mad’ about falling from Knicks rotation

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Knicks president Steve Mills started his second tenure talking about rebuilding and listed Willy Hernangomez as a core piece.

But Hernangomez, coming off an All-Rookie first-team season, barely played in New York’s season-opening loss to the Thunder– drawing scrutiny.

Then, he didn’t play at all in a loss to the Pistons – eliciting a strong reaction from Hernangomez himself.

Hernangomez, via Fred Kerber of the New York Post:

“The same. I’m still mad,” Hernangomez said. “I cannot help the team win if I’m sitting on the bench. Two games in a row. It’s tough. I have to wait my moment. I cannot say nothing more.”

The Knicks are moving in different directions. Management is talking about building for the future. Coach Jeff Hornacek, who was hired by previous president Phil Jackson, is trying to win now.

There’s a fine line between developing Hernangomez through playing time and making him earn his minutes. Enes Kanter and Kyle O'Quinn might be better right now.

But being marginally better this season won’t get the Knicks anywhere meaningful except lower in the lottery. On the other hand, even on rebuilding teams, winning is most important to a coach’s job security. Earl Watson implemented the Suns’ tanking scheme, and look where that got him.

Hornacek is backed into a corner, and now one of the team’s most important young players is publicly expressing his displeasure. It’s the latest troubling sign in a locker room already suspicious of Hornacek.