Rudy Fernandez considers next season a “test” for Dallas

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Rudy Fernandez can pretty much walk around singing some Gomez — “And that’s OK, at least I’ve got options.”

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.

Are Bulls and Dwyane Wade moving toward a buyout?

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About a month ago, the Bulls said they hadn’t discussed a buyout with Dwyane Wade.

Have the two sides progressed since?

Nick Friedell of ESPN:

Dwyane Wade isn’t long for the organization’s future and is expected to reach a buyout agreement at some point in the next few months.

Expected by whom?

People with direct knowledge of momentum toward a buyout?

Or everyone who can see that a 35-year-old earning $23.8 million fits poorly on a rebuilding team?

For the Bulls to now drop their biggest name and a large expiring contract that could prove useful in trades should require Wade surrendering a large portion of his salary. He doesn’t sound like someone inclined to do that yet.

A few months is a long time. As long as Wade gets bought out by March 1, he could join another team’s playoff roster. It’d surprise nobody if he gets bought out after the February trade deadline, which we already knew. I don’t see strong indication of something more imminent.

LeBron James’ camp already shooting down leaving-Cavaliers rumor

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LeBron James has done a terrible job shooting down rumors about him leaving the Cavaliers

Except this one from Chris Sheridan, who cited a source saying LeBron would “100 percent” leave Cleveland next summer due to a rift with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Sheridan’s source saying LeBron is leaving doesn’t make that true. But other anonymous sources denying it doesn’t make the denials true, either.

New Orleans Saints fire Pelicans’ team physician

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The Pelicans have been crushed by injuries the last few years.

Why? That’s an incredibly complex question.

But the New Orleans Saints – who share an owner (Tom Benson), a front-office leader (Mickey Loomis) and other staff with the Pelicans – have found culprits for their own injury woes.

Mike Triplett of ESPN:

The Saints have fired team orthopedists Deryk Jones and Misty Suri, per source, after it was discovered that CB Delvin Breaux has a fractured fibula and will require surgery expected to sidelined him for 4-6 weeks. Breaux was originally diagnosed with a contusion

Suri is a Pelicans team physician.

Scott Kushner of The Advocate:

Fairly or not, Suri – after the Saints deemed him unacceptable – will be in the crosshairs if he keeps his job with the the Pelicans and their injury woes continue.

Rumor: LeBron James ‘100 percent’ leaving Cavaliers next summer

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Chris Sheridan was ahead of the crowd in 2014, reporting LeBron James would likely leave the Heat for the Cavaliers – which obviously happened.

But Sheridan called it a “90 percent chance,” a small – but large enough – hedge. He also said LeBron would announce the decision on LeBron’s personal website. Of course, LeBron revealed his choice in a Sports Illustrated essay.

So, maybe Sheridan knows what he’s talking about. Maybe he doesn’t.

But the longtime NBA writer just fanned the flames of the already hot LeBron-leaving-Cleveland rumors.

Sheridan:

Of course, the denials came quickly.

There have already been plenty of warning signs about LeBron’s relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, which didn’t restart in a great place.

It’s entirely believable LeBron would leave Cleveland, in large part due to Gilbert.

But it’s also fun to speculate about that salacious storyline.

Maybe Sheridan or his source got carried away for that very reason. Or maybe they know something.

Neither possibility should be discounted.