Although the Knicks have surfaced in multiple trade rumors involving Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony this summer, the team’s most aggressive efforts have focused on someone else.
The Knicks have been reportedly coveting the Blazers’ Rudy Fernandez all summer long.
Fernandez, the European sensation, is starving for the chance to be celebrated in a big market. His talents would be ideal for the Knicks’ style of play. He is a quick guard who shoots the long ball well, and at the same time, can run the floor effectively.
At the beginning of the summer, the Knicks certainly had some deep roles to fill. However, after adding Raymond Felton at point guard, and Kelenna Azubuike and Roger Mason Jr. at shooting guard, it is unclear how serious of a role could be given to Fernandez.
Fernandez, who has grown frustrated from not starting in Portland, was recently fined $25,000 by the NBA for publicly requesting a trade. He is also prepared not to report to Blazers’ training camp and will forfeit the final two years of his contract in order to return to Europe.
Although playing time is something he seeks, Fernandez is reportedly open to coming off the bench if it means playing in New York.
Nevertheless, the Knicks would be prepared to offer Fernandez a starting job, despite the existing talent on the roster.
However, both Azubuike and Mason Jr. have starting experience on their previous squads and performed well. They would certainly challenge Fernandez for the spot in training camp.
There is no doubt that Fernandez has tremendous upside, but if he is not given the proper minutes, that potential will be left untapped, just like it has in Portland.
ESPN reports that the Knicks have offered Wilson Chandler for Fernandez. Unfortunately, the only sure thing that trading Chandler for the Knicks does is to clear up minutes for Fernandez.
Trading Chandler, a proven player with proven abilities, before the season starts is a huge risk.
As much upside as Fernandez may have, that same uncertain upside is the only thing he has to offer. History has proven again and again that the skills of even the best players in Europe have a tendency not to translate over to the NBA.
Furthermore, Fernandez has only averaged 24.5 minutes during his two NBA seasons. While it is possible that his statistics will increase with more playing time, there is also the possibility that he will not be able to capitalize on the extra minutes.
Chandler, on the other hand, has consistently performed as a starter and has become one of the team’s best defenders.
Why trade him away before the season even begins? Chandler’s defense could very well become depended on by the newly formed run and gun Knicks.
While Fernandez’s playmaking ability is what makes him unique as a shooting guard, Felton is also poised to maximize his playmaking ability under the Knicks' system.
If the Knicks are looking for a shooting guard who can run the floor, they should look no further than Roger Mason Jr.
Mason Jr. played an impressive two-man game with Tony Parker, predominantly a scoring point guard, while with the Spurs.
Fernandez’s young age and untapped potential is an exciting prospect. The Knicks, however, already have a lot of what he provides.
It is one thing if the Knicks simply consider him better at doing what he does than anyone currently on the team. Anyone who improves the team is worth acquiring.
At the same time, trading Chandler may not be the right way to go about doing it.
The Blazers are mulling the Knicks’ offer as they covet a future first round pick instead. With the Knicks unable to offer a first round pick until 2014, perhaps an acquisition of Fernandez is not in the cards.
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