- Associated Press - Thursday, June 23, 2011

DALLAS (AP) - The Dallas Mavericks are already gearing up to defend their title, trading both their draft picks for Portland Trail Blazers guard Rudy Fernandez.

A person familiar with the deal spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday night on condition of anonymity because it had not been formally announced.

Fernandez confirmed it, too, with this tweet before anything was announced: “thanks all blazers fans for ur support this 3 years!! So happy to be in the best team in the nba!!!dallas!!!”

Dallas took Texas’ Jordan Hamilton with the 26th pick, then announced that he was taken for another team. The Mavs were expected to divulge the details after their second pick, the 57th overall, also to be made for another team.


The 6-foot-7, 220-pound Hamilton averaged 18.6 points and 7.7 rebounds over two seasons with the Longhorns.

Fernandez has spent his three NBA seasons in Portland. Only 26, he’s also been a standout in international play. He could step in as Dallas’ starting shooting guard _ an erratic spot this past season.

DeShawn Stevenson drew most of the starts in the regular season, then gave way to Rodrigue Beaubois, whom the team was expecting to have a breakout year. But he had trouble recovering from a broken foot and missed time, and Stevenson regained the job in the finale. He started every postseason game until Game 4 of the NBA finals, when backup point guard J.J. Barea took over.

Beaubois will be back next season and may get another chance to start. Fernandez could push him for the job or be part of Dallas’ already deep bench.

Fernandez has been a backup most of his NBA career. He’s averaged 9.1 points over 24.1 minutes in 218 games.

This past season, he averaged 8.6 points in the regular season but scored only 2.8 per game in a first-round series against the Mavericks. He made only 4 of 18 shots.