Rudy Fernandez to play in Madison Square Garden… but not as a Knick

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Rudy Fernandez finally gets to play a game in Madison Square Garden tonight. He’s wanted that, his agents have pushed for that all summer (pushed hard enough to get him fined, twice).

Of course, they pushed for him to be a Knick, instead he comes in as part of the visiting Portland Trail Blazers. The place he was trying to get away from.

Alan Hahn of Newsday tells us that if Fernandez does get out of Portland, the Knicks are not the likely destination because the price is a first-round pick.

The Knicks, who don’t have a first-round pick that they can trade until 2014, made an offer of two second-round picks for Fernandez, which the Blazers quickly dismissed. Knicks president Donnie Walsh could have traded Anthony Randolph to the Pacers for a first-round pick, but with a potential trade for Carmelo Anthony on the horizon, it is believed he would prefer to keep as many assets as possible.

While Fernandez’s value may remain the same, the asking price likely has gone up, especially in the wake of Portland’s trade with the New Orleans Hornets , who gave up a partially protected first-round pick in exchange for Jerryd Bayless.

“That raises the bar,” an NBA source said. “You think they’re going to take two seconds from the Knicks?”

The Knicks look like they are going to live with rookie Landry Fields at the two for now, he has looked surprisingly good in that role through two games (averaging 11 points on 50 percent shooting with seven boards).

Fernandez will come up in trade talks again, but the Blazers seem willing to wait for the market to come to them.

Kobe Bryant says his age 37 is not like Michael Jordan’s age 37

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Once again, Kobe Bryant‘s career arc is being compared to Michael Jordan’s.

There’s a lot of reason’s that’s flawed — starting with Kobe being drafted on to a Lakers team that had Shaquille O’Neal and was already considered NBA elite, as opposed to Jordan working to build a franchise up. That said, Kobe has invited the Jordan comparison at times and it has been a constant through is career. Fair or not.

Kobe is coming back this fall after seasons of injury to the NBA and those comparisons continue — now to the Wizards’ version of Jordan. And Kobe is not at all fond of that, as he told Sam Amick of the USA Today.

“This is uncharted territory,” he said. “My 37 (years old) isn’t MJ’s 37 (when he returned after taking two seasons off to play for the Washington Wizards), you know what I mean? Nor is it the same team or the same system that he was playing in. It’s much, much different. There’s really no barometer, no (precedent) for training physically, for recovery. It’s uncharted territory.”

Kobe is right. Jordan had four+ seasons off by the time he was 37 and was not coming off multiple major surgeries.

Kobe is entering his 20th NBA season and what any real basketball fan should wish for him is health. Let him play one full season (with limited minutes and nights off), let him get to the final game of this season next April and make his own decision on his future. Let him leave the game on his own terms.

That said, if Kobe can average Jordan’s numbers at that age — 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game — it will be a major accomplishment, and the Lakers will have a better record than many of us expect.

And Kobe may want to play a 21st season as well.

Celtics ease to 124-91 win at Olimpia Milano in Global Games

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MILAN (AP) — The Boston Celtics eased to a 124-91 victory over Olimpia Milano at the Mediolanum Forum on Tuesday, comfortably winning the first of a double-header in Europe as part of the NBA Global Games.

Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Celtics with 18 points, including nine in his first seven minutes after coming off the bench midway through the first quarter.

Jared Sullinger added 14 points, as did Avery Bradley, who also had four three-pointers, while David Lee weighed in with 13 as well as seven rebounds and three assists.

Alessandro Gentile – who is reportedly wanted by the Houston Rockets, who hold NBA rights to the 22-year-old – top scored for Milano, with 19 points.

Next up for the Celtics is Real Madrid in Spain on Thursday.