The Dallas Mavericks are already gearing up to defend their title, trading both their draft picks Thursday night to get Portland Trailblazers guard Rudy Fernandez.
In a statement late Thursday announcing the deal, the team said it acquired Fernandez and the rights to Petteri Koponen from the Trailblazers.
Fernandez tweeted: "thanks all blazers fans for ur support this 3 years!! So happy to be in the best team in the nba!!!dallas!!!"
The Palma de Mallorca, Spain, native 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 or become another piece in a deep, versatile rotation.
"We're in a playoff-championship push mode," said Donnie Nelson, the Mavericks' president of basketball operations. "We think the player we acquired is going to help us more than the pick would."
Dallas took Texas' Jordan Hamilton with the 26th pick, then announced that he was taken for another team. With the 57th pick, the Mavs took forward Tanguy Ngombo of Qatar, also for someone else.
In Thursday's statement on the deal, the Mavericks said Hamilton will go to the Denver Nuggets while Ngombo will head to Portland.
The Blazers traded Hamilton to the Nuggets in a trade deal of their own.
Fernandez has been a backup most of his NBA career. He's averaged 9.1 points over 24.1 minutes in 218 games.
Koponen, a native of Helsinki, Finland, spent the last season playing for Solar Bologna in Italy.
"We could not be happier with the additions of Rudy Fernandez and Petteri Koponen,” Nelson said. “Rudy is an athletic, young, exciting player with significant upside. His international and postseason experience will prove to be very valuable. Petteri is a young combo guard who was a first-round selection in 2007 and is developing nicely in Europe.”
Nelson met with reporters following the announced selection of Hamilton.
"We thought the opportunity was really, really good for us," Nelson said. "The balance is a player that's a young one vs. one that's been in the league a few years and can help us right away."
Nelson referred to the acquisition as a potential starter. He added that this was a deal that had been discussed for a while and became more realistic in the last few days.
"This was our 'A' scenario," he said.
Shooting guard was an erratic spot for Dallas 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' bench. Jason Terry already is their primary shooting guard.
This past season, Fernandez 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.