Agent: Hey, stop picking on Rudy Fernandez, it's not nice

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nba_fernandez_250.jpgRudy Fernandez has not been popular in Portland this summer. Primarily because he said he didn’t want to be there anymore, said he wanted to be in Europe and had an agent publicly pushing for a trade.

But you know, aside that it’s all puppies and rainbows.

Jason Quick of the Oregonian wrote what a lot of Portlanders have been feeling recently. The article may have crossed the line — Fernandez is there and balling — but it spoke for a lot of people.

Gerard Darnes, the European agent for Fernandez, came out returning fire for his guy in Portland Wednesday. First he went on 95.5 FM’s “Morning Sports Page” and said you can’t blame someone for having the desire to be somewhere else (not so sure about that) and that Fernandez has been in camp and professional through this (that is true).

Then in the afternoon Darnes sent a letter to members of the Portland media, which you can read the highlights of here (as posted by Blazers Edge):

First of all, I don’t think anybody has the right to make fun or joking about a human being wishes and desires, and nobody can evaluate how fine or how sad a human being is being far from home, friends and culture. Nobody can blame any little thing about Rudy practice and attitude. He has been playing in every practice that he could.

He apologize to the staff and to the owner if anything he said hurted them during the summer… Also, as he said, is not getting used to the NBA system, he likes the European style of game better.

In my personal opinion, NBA and the Union have to find new rules that adjust the relationships between NBA franchise and the rest of the world.

Mr. Darnes, think what you want of the Oregonian article, there are some underlying things here: Fans are emotionally invested in a team so when you say you don’t want to play for a franchise, that is taken as a personal insult. Blazers fans love Portland and the team that your client wants nothing to do with. That after signing a contract that committed him to them. That feels personal on some levels.

Second, Fernandez is being paid very well. The Trail Blazers have lived up to their end of the deal — he has been paid more than $2.2 million total the last couple years and will make another $1.2 million this year. That’s a lot of scratch. It’s hard to be sympathetic with a guy making 20 times what you are and then complains about his situation.

Just so you are clear where everyone is coming from.

Kevin Durant responds to school handout telling kids to avoid being like him

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Kevin Durant is having a pretty good summer. He is obviously in a full on “I have a ring now” mode and is just battling everyone he can set his sights on. He’s confident, as he should be.

Durrant responded to critical comments conservative commentator and ex-ESPNer Britt McHenry made about the Golden State Warriors forward not wanting to visit the White House should an invitation come for the team.

Now, Durant has seen a handout that a teacher gave to kids in school comparing him and Michael Jordan. In the handout, it asks kids to refrain from being like Durant, asking them not to take the easy way out by cheating in class. Instead, it asks them to be more like Michael Jordan and not take shortcuts.

That’s not even a correct interpretation of the facts, much less a very good analogy. Nevertheless, when SB nation published an article on an image of the handout on Twitter, Durant responded.

Via Twitter:

Firing might be a little harsh but perhaps the person who wrote this handout could put their hardcore sports allegiances away for a minute? Things like this and up on the Internet, you know?

Stan Van Gundy talks up Pistons’ rookie Luke Kennard

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Luke Kennard came out of Duke with one of the best jump shots in the draft — he’s got a skill that translates to the NBA and will help the Pistons. The questions were about his defense and athleticism, but he started to answer those when he averaged 17.2 points a game in the Orlando Summer League. He hit threes but generally just looks like a guy who just knows how to get buckets.

So far, at the Pistons’ training facility and in the Orlando Summer League, coach and decision maker with the Pistons Stan Van Gundy likes what he sees from his rookie, he told the Pistons’ official website.

“Pretty much what we thought offensively, maybe even did a better job passing the ball than I thought,” Van Gundy said. “He’s able to make plays off the dribble , that nice change of pace, and things I hadn’t seen a lot of. He really has a great feel for the game and how to play in addition to clearly his ability to shoot the ball….

“We’ve seen that a lot. He’s got great mental toughness,” Van Gundy said. “The thing I have great confidence in is that as he runs into challenges in the league – and everybody does and he’ll be no exception – I just think he’s a smart guy who’s adaptable. I think he’ll figure out a way to combat it. I’ve got great confidence in his ability to do that….

“The thing I didn’t know that he showed me is he has the ability to move his feet defensively. Now, he’s still got a long way to go in terms of handling some of the other things, rotations and things like that. But he certainly showed that he can get down in a stance and move his feet. I did not have a good feel for that going into the draft, so that was a positive.”

Yes, you should take a coach talking up a rookie before a game is played with a grain of salt.

However, the comment about the potential to defend is good news. SVG is right that mental toughness, and willingness to put in the work, is what will allow Kennard to take steps forward, but he has to have a baseline to get there and Van Gundy thinks he has that. Kennard has challenges ahead of him but if he can keep hitting shots the Pistons will give him time to work out everything else.

Kennard is going to get plenty of run as the backup to Avery Bradley at the two in Detroit. In with a second unit of guys like Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver, Kennard is going to get his chances to score. He could put up decent numbers for a rookie.

 

John Wall has a strong arm, can throw a tight spiral (VIDEO)

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If the Redskins need a quarterback should Kirk Cousins go down — he has played a full 16-game schedule the past two years, which is pretty remarkable — maybe rather than Colt McCoy Washington should look at the guy who makes the Wizards’ go.

John Wall showed on Friday he has a strong arm, can throw a tight spiral, and hit his man.

I love that Wall starts calling out Tom Brady after one good pass.

Michael Beasley had his truck stolen out of his driveway

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Michael Beasley will be getting buckets, shooting long twos, and playing inconsistent defense for the New York Knicks next season (the analysis is just based on recent history).

But first, he’d like to find his truck. Which was stolen.

Well, I did see a Dodge Ram 1500 on the road today, but since I’m on the West Coast and I have no idea what color/year Beasley’s truck is, I’m going to assume the guy I saw didn’t perpetrate the heist.

Still, that sucks for Beasley, even if he can easily afford to replace it.