The NBA lockout has ended, and this means that Rudy Fernández and Serge Ibaka, two of Real Madrid's best players during this part of the season, will go back to the States by next week. Both will play their last European game for Real Madrid today against Milan at 20:45 local time.
With these two players leaving, Real Madrid will probably need to sign a couple of reinforcements, especially in the low post. Serge Ibaka's defensive presence will certainly be missed by Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso.
Real Madrid recently signed former Duke Blue Devil Kyle Singler to replace Rudy while he spends the rest of the season with the Dallas Mavericks.
Real Madrid faces another European game today against Milan, with the goal of qualifying for the Top16. If los blancos get the win, they will almost ensure their presence in that phase of the competition.
Rudy Fernández will probably reappear with the team after recovering from his knee contussion, but this will be his second to last game of the season for the club. Unless he negotiates with Mark Cuban to get a clause that allows him to return to Madrid's roster, he will not be back until the summer of 2012.
Serge Ibaka's case is different. He has not signed a contract with the team, and he has more than one year to play for Oklahoma City, so the fans should enjoy these two games while they can. Air Congo will not play again in a Real Madrid jersey unless he signs with los blancos after his contract with Oklahoma City ends.
Milan is a good team that is facing these same problems. They have Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari, but the Italian player will be in the Training Camp that starts December 9.
They will surely be dangerous on their court, but with Jaycee Carroll's lately improvement and Rudy and Ibaka wanting to leave a good impression, Real Madrid should prevail.
It doesn't look likely that Real Madrid will bring any additional players, because Florentino Pérez and the basketball section of the club trust that Rudy Fernández will be back next summer. The team's next goal will be to bring a defensive center, but Real Madrid fans will need to wait for next season for that to happen.
I encourage you all to watch tonight's game!