Might as well dub this one “Survivor”. We already know who is in jeopardy of getting voted off the island.
After five years of covering the league – three of those in New York where drama is always at a premium – I learned to appreciate where both Nate and Sergio are coming from today after Rodriguez’s agent (Jose Ortiz) demanded a trade. It’s a delicate situation. McMillan prefers Sergio to come to him if he is unhappy about his role on the team. Sergio is clearly unhappy about his role and playing time, but is hesitant to approach McMillan on the matter.
It sounds like – and I say that because I only talked to McMillan about the matter from the practice facility – the time was never right for Sergio to talk about his frustrations with Nate. He couldn’t do it the first couple games. Nate was busy dealing with a gimpy Greg Oden. He couldn’t do it on the road in Phoenix or Utah. Portland was too busy losing. But if that was the case – if Sergio was really wrestling with when and how to talk to McMillan about his role and playing time – then that’s on Sergio for not saying anything.
It’s on him still. Nate told the team today to come and talk to him if they are unhappy, not the press. Something tells me Sergio isn’t knocking down his door.
But I feel for Sergio. He’s in a tough spot.
It can’t be easy being the fourth point guard option behind (in no particular order) Steve Blake, Brandon Roy and now Rudy Fernandez. It’s like last year all over again. And the year before that. But let’s think about it: are things really going to change for Rodriguez by bailing to another team?
Besides maybe picking up a little extra playing time (maybe), is he a starter in this league? If his agent really believes he’s not a half court point guard, what’s going to happen when/if Sergio ever gets into the playoffs where games are grinded out in half court sets? Will he be any happier watching from the bench then? If there is any beef between Sergio and McMillan, isn’t that a matter to keep in house and not to be broadcasted by an agent?
There may not be any right or wrong answers here.
Here’s one more to ponder: with General Manager Kevin Pritchard a guru at making moves in June during the NBA Draft, don’t you think he has the fortitude to make a trade happen during the regular season with a player whose interests are coming before the teams?
That question might be a little easier to answer.
For those arriving late, here are a few links to help you along the path to the “Sergio Saga”….
pic via: marca.com