Such is the state of the world that most of us would rather see Real Madrid’s soccer team — with Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka — than their basketball team, but we’ll take what we can get.
Real Madrid — which includes Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez — will take on the Memphis Grizzlies in a preseason game in Tennessee, the team announced (via SLAM).
This is just more of the international growth of the game. The NBA has sent teams to Europe and China and Mexico for a decade now to spread the gospel of the league. But now some of the bigger European teams — Real Madrid this year, Barcelona before — are willing to come here to do the same.
The game will be Oct. 6 at the FedEx Forum.
We were all a little surprised when Ronny Turiaf turned down his player option with the Heat and become a free agent.
So where does he land? There are worse places to go than Madrid.
European power Real Madrid is in the running, according to a report out of Spain (via Hoopshype):
Turiaf likely is going to wait to see how the NBA market plays out over the next couple of weeks, as teams miss out on current targets his name will come up. These will be veteran minimum deals. But if nothing really materializes he is a member of the French national team who understands the international game and what is expected of him. And Real Madrid has some NBA talent on the roster, including Rudy Fernandez who just signed. Something to watch.
For the past couple summers, Rudy Fernandez has had the Real Madrid card in his back pocket.
Two years ago he tried to get Portland to release him so he could go play for the Spanish powerhouse, but that wasn’t happening. Instead they traded him to Denver. Fernandez played for Madrid during the lockout, but returned to Denver only to need back surgery that kept him out most of the season.
Now he is a free agent and he is trying to use Madrid for leverage to get a better deal. At least that’s what it sounds like in an interview with Spanish site TuBasket.
“We’ll see if the Nuggets make a good offer to me or not.”
The rumor last summer was that Fernandez made a multi-year handshake agreement with Madrid, but his contract had to allow him to come back to Denver if the lockout ended so the extra years could not be formalized. Now he just sounds like a guy looking for the most money.
Fernandez says in the same interview it is possible he will be healthy enough to play for Spain in the Olympics. However, players are usually poor judges of when they will return and he is expected to be out. We’ll see.
It’s rare for a player selected in the second round of the NBA to have much immediate career affirmation. After all, many second rounders never even make the final cut of an NBA roster, and those that do typically warm the bench and play out unguaranteed contracts as practice filler.
Duke forward Kyle Singler appears to be an unusual exception. Not only does Singler bring the prestige of formerly being a prominent contributor for one of the NCAA’s basketball institutions to the table, but his résumé has been supplemented further with successful stints playing for two European clubs in the past several months. He was so comfortable playing overseas, in fact, that rather than return to the States following the lockout’s conclusion, Singler opted to merely switch teams and remain in Spain.
It’s all worked out pretty well for Singler, who has found a way to continue the showcase of his NBA qualifications despite being drafted into a situation with few chances at playing time. It’s a great break for a young player who easily could’ve been buried on the bench until late in the season, and playing for Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid has been so kind to Singler that he really doesn’t seem to be in all that much of a rush to join the struggling Pistons. From the Associated Press:
With Detroit last in the Eastern Conference’s Central division, Singler is happy to wait until the offseason to make a decision if the Pistons offer him a deal.
“If I do go back, I’m sure it will be Detroit because they are very interested in me,” Singler said. “I’m not saying that I don’t want to go to their team, but if it’s a good situation, I’ll definitely make that choice.”
Not exactly shocking considering that Jonas Jerebko, Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye, and — somewhat inexplicably — Damien Wilkins all eat up minutes at Singler’s primary position. But that kind of patience from a player without a concrete NBA deal? That casual shrug as Singler willingly waits on his NBA dreams? It’s unusual to say the least, and speaks to Singler’s strangely high value despite being drafted in the second round.
The NBA is currently in the process of moving the lockout into its rearview mirror, but even that development can’t bring home all of the league’s wayward sons. There are plenty of players who signed contracts overseas without an NBA out, and beyond that, apparently, a contingent that’s able to find better contract conditions overseas than they would in the states. Among them is Kyle Singler, who according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, is close to signing a deal with Real Madrid for the remainder of the season:
After an outstanding showing with Alicante in the [Spanish ACB] league – where he averaged a team-leading 15 points on 47 percent shooting – Singler decided to take the Real Madrid offer on Tuesday. A combination of his comfort level in Spain and a salary higher than that of most second-round draft picks convinced him to finish the season there, sources said.
The financial motivations make a lot of sense; second round picks make very little money in NBA terms, and if Singler is able to score a better contract overseas, power to him. But as Wojnarowski notes in his report, Singler had a real chance at playing time this season with the Detroit Pistons. He’s hardly a surefire pro-level talent, but the Pistons are a young, rebuilding team looking to appraise the pieces on their current roster. It’s likely that Singler would have been given a decent shot to perform, and whether that opportunity will still be there upon his eventual return to the NBA remains to be seen.
Regardless, this isn’t a particularly heavy decision. Singler has opted to play in one place over another, and while it would have been interesting to see the Duke product in an NBA setting, he’ll earn a bit more money while playing a comfortable role for one of the best non-NBA teams out there. Basketball life goes on.