Rudy Fernandez goggles

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

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.

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.