Rudy Fernandez talking to Real Madrid. Again.

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Much to the disappointment of drunk women sitting courtside everywhere, Rudy Fernandez is thinking about jumping to Spain. Again.

Fernandez, who spent last summer trying to get out of his NBA deal, spent part of this summer negotiating with Real Madrid. Then he said he promised to fulfill his NBA contract, which has one season remaining (plus a qualifying offer for a second season).

Maybe he means both.

Fernandez is talking to Real Madrid again. If he signs he returns to Spain but with an opt-out clause for this season to play for Dallas should the lockout get solved (as FIBA requires), then the following season it is back to Madrid, according to Alex Kennedy at Hoopsworld.

Fernandez’s camp met with Real Madrid last week, and the two sides have remained in contact in recent days. A six-year deal starting at 2.5 million euros ($3,562,250) is currently being discussed, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations. …

While the small forward’s deal may include a NBA-out, sources close to the situation believe that Fernandez wants to commit to Real Madrid long-term. Unlike other NBA players signing overseas, Fernandez doesn’t view Spain as a temporary landing spot. He sees himself continuing his career with Real Madrid long after the lockout has ended. However, Fernandez has one year remaining on his NBA contract, which could force him to report to the Dallas Mavericks if the work stoppage ends in time to save the upcoming season.

Fernandez is in the same position Josh Childress was when he jumped to Greece for two seasons (although he jumped for different reasons). Let’s say Fernandez signs in Spain (for more money than he is set to make in the NBA, by they way), then labor peace is found and the lockout ends. He has to come back to Dallas for whatever remains of this season. Then Dallas will extend a qualifying offer to Fernandez for the 2012-13 season, which he would not sign so he can return to Spain. Dallas could continue to extend qualifying offers every year as a formality just to retain his NBA rights should he decide to come back and play here.

I could see it playing out like that. Would FIBA allow the long-term deal or would the future years need to be a handshake deal because of the qualifying offer? That I don’t know, but you can bet Fernandez agent and the people at Real Madrid are figuring it out. Either way, don’t be shocked to see this signing coming.

Watch Michael Jordan’s best highlight from each of his playoff runs (video)

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I’ve become a sucker for this highlight format.

Jazz deny rumored promise to draft D.J. Wilson

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Michigan forward D.J. Wilson said he’d stay in the draft only if he’d go in the first round. Yet, despite not doing any on-court work at the combine, the borderline first-rounder remained in the draft beyond the withdrawal deadline.

What gives?

Rod Beard of The Detroit News:

Kyle Goon of The Salt Lake Tribune:

NBA teams sometimes promise to draft a player. They never reveal that before the draft. So, Utah’s denial doesn’t mean much – even if it’s true.

The Jazz were the last team to give Wilson a full work out before he injured himself in a Spurs workout. So, this rumor could be based on circumstantial evidence rather than leak of a Utah guarantee.

Wilson would make sense for the Jazz, who could see their payroll bloat if they re-sign Gordon Hayward and George Hill (and maybe even Joe Ingles). They could move Derrick Favors, an interior who doesn’t exactly fit with Rudy Gobert. Wilson would give Utah another option with Trey Lyles as developing stretch fours behind Boris Diaw. (Utah could even move Diaw and count on Lyles/Wilson to emerge sooner than later.)

Watch LeBron James’ top highlight from each of his postseason appearances (video)

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LeBron James and Tony Parker are the only players to play in the last dozen postseasons.

(If you’re wondering, Manu Ginobili missed the 2009 playoffs due to an ankle injury.)

It’s fair to say LeBron was a bit more spectacular than Parker in that span. As LeBron enters his seventh straight Finals, the NBA released this awesome video showing LeBron’s best playoff highlight from each year:

There’s no entry for this year. Here’s betting it comes against the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

David Stern: We thought we could re-work Chris Paul-to-Lakers trade until Mitch Kupchak ‘panicked’

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NBA commissioner David Stern – acting as New Orleans’ owner representative, he says – infamously vetoed a potential Chris Paul-to-Lakers trade in 2011.

But that didn’t close the possibility of Paul going to the Lakers.

The New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans and not be confused with the current Charlotte Hornets), Lakers and Rockets tried to rework the three-team trade that would’ve sent Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to Houston and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and a first-round pick to New Orleans. But talks fell apart around the time the Lakers dealt Odom to the Mavericks.

Stern on Nunyo & Company (hat tip: Harrison Feigen of Silver Screen & Roll):

In fact, in the course of the weekend, we thought we could re-do the deal. We really thought that Houston would be ready to part with Kevin Lowry, and we had a trade lined up for Odom that would have gotten us a good first-round draft pick – not we, but my basketball folks. But Mitch Kupchak at the time panicked and moved Odom to Dallas. So the piece wasn’t even there for us to play with at the time. So that was it — just about what was good for the then-New Orleans Hornets.

Remember, Stern – roundly criticized for his handling of this episode* – has blamed the Lakers and Rockets for the lingering perception. This could just be him again trying to shift responsibility.

*Somewhat fairly, somewhat not. Owners veto general manager-approved trades often enough, and Stern was acting as New Orleans’ owner after George Shinn sold the franchise back to the league. But Stern had an agenda as commissioner. He never should have assumed such a large conflict of interest. What he did with the Paul trade was reasonable for an acting owner, but because Stern was also commissioner, it’s fair to question how much New Orleans’ interests and how much the league’s interests factored into the decision-making.

But let’s take Stern at his word – that he and the Hornets thought they could re-do the trade and send Paul to the Lakers. That doesn’t mean they were right. Maybe the Lakers and Rockets (who had Kyle Lowry, not the “Kevin Lowry” Stern named) were never going to part with enough to get Stern’s approval.

And maybe New Orleans didn’t properly convey its interest in still completing a deal. Perhaps, Kupchak acted reasonably by trading Odom to Dallas – for a first-round pick, a deal Mark Cuban would ultimately regret – rather than wait around for the Hornets, who eventually sent Paul to the Clippers.

It’s easy to blame Kupchak, but he might tell a different story.