Less than two weeks after the draft-night trade that sent the 6-foot-6 Spanish shooting guard from the Portland Trail Blazers to the Mavericks, Fernandez has reportedly been offered a six-year contract from Real Madrid that would make him the highest paid player in the history of the Spanish ACB, the most successful professional league in Europe.
According to a report Sunday in the Spanish sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo, the struggling Real Madrid franchise hopes to revive its fortunes by luring the popular Fernandez, 26, back home with promises of riches he may not find in the NBA.
The newspaper said the proposed six-year deal amounts to about $4.35 million a year. Under the NBA's now-expired collective bargaining agreement, Fernandez was due to make $2.2 million next season, after which he could become a restricted free agent with a qualifying offer of $3.2 million for the 2012-13 season.
But with the NBA in the early stages of a potential protracted work stoppage, salaries are expected to become more restrictive under a new CBA and Fernandez, heading into his fourth NBA season, might find a second contract to be less lucrative than playing in his home country.
The report says that if Fernandez agreed to the Real Madrid deal, he would return to the Mavs whenever the 2011-12 NBA season begins, finish the season and then cut ties with the NBA to join the Spanish club.
Fernandez played three seasons with the Trail Blazers, averaging 9.1 points on 39.4 percent shooting. He is a career 36.4 percent shooter from 3-point range. He struggled during Portland's first-round playoff loss to Dallas, averaging 2.8 points on 22.2 percent shooting.
Because of the lockout, Mavs officials are not permitted to speak with Fernandez or his representatives.
Jeff Caplan covers the Dallas Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.