The Curious (Amnesty) Case Of B. Roy

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — In a league filled egos and attitudes, Portland’s Brandon Roy always seemed to fight against stereotype.

In the times we’ve crossed paths, Roy has always struck me as one of the more grounded players in the league, a guy very much in tune with fragile nature of things in the high-stakes world of professional sports. Perhaps his injury history, dating back to before he came into the league, influenced him. You never know.

Now Roy stands at a career crossroads in Portland, caught in the middle of a dilemma caused by all the splendid things he’s done in a Trail Blazers uniform and the things his fragile knees have done to him while wearing that same uniform.

The Trail Blazers have to decide if Roy stays on the roster as a shell of the All-Star, face-of-the-franchise talent he once was or if they use the league’s new amnesty clause to cut ties with their former leader who is owed $63 million on his current contract.

Trail Blazers president Larry Miller offered a chilling but telling assessment of where things stand, when he told The Oregonian‘s Jason Quick:

“If Brandon were to accept mentally that ‘I’m not that guy anymore, but I will do whatever I can to help the team,’ it would make it easier to keep him around,” Miller said. “We know every-so-often he is going to give us that game, and be the Brandon Roy of old, but mentally accepting where his game is, that’s the bigger challenge for him. I don’t know if he is there, or if he can get there.”

Having been in the Rose Garden crowd during Roy’s magical Game 4 performance against Dallas in that first round playoff series last April, it’s hard for me to sit here and suggest that he could dial up enough of those performances, on knees that have no cartilage, to justify the Trail Blazers keeping him in the fold.

The flip side, however, includes the Trail Blazers cutting ties with Roy and him landing with another team and excelling in exactly the same role he would have been used in had they kept him. That’s a proposition that would only serve to rile up the restless fringe of the always-fervent Blazer fan base even more.

That said, waving Roy would provide a huge financial relief for the franchise. They’d get under the luxury tax threshold and become players in the free-agent market, provided they waive him early enough. (But this theory also requires the fans trusting that the franchise, sans a GM to replace the fired Rich Cho, would make the right moves to rebuild the core of the roster. And it’s safe to say the trust factor is shaky right now in Portland.)

To their credit, Roy’s camp isn’t making this about anything other than what’s best for all involved. All they’re asking for is an immediate decision, per Quick:

“I get it. Brandon gets it,” said Greg Lawrence, Roy’s agent. “It’s not complicated. They are going to make a decision that is best for them. If they want him to be there, he will show up and work hard like he always has and do whatever it takes to help the team win. If they don’t want Brandon to be there, he will move on. He just wants to know.”

Don’t we all!



  1. SYDALE says:

    Unfortunately, they need to let Roy go… he’s just getting paid too much for a guy who has to play a lesser role… He’ll still be a great closer or 6th man for a team that’s missing just one last piece to be a contender…

    If they do let him go… I could see Atlanta, Dallas, or San Antonio picking him up…

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  3. Placebo_FX says:

    Anyone who has witnessed Portland’s situation up close knows that LaMarcus Aldridge defers to Roy when Roy is in uniform. It wasn’t until Roy took an extended rehab break that LaMarcus was able to come into his own. I believe this younger team collectively has this same issue with Roy. Sure he can take over a game, but night in and out Roy’s team mates hold back to see what he is going to bring. Roy might be able to dial it back but I think there is a mindset on this team that is dysfunctional with Roy on the court. If he goes I think this issue goes with him and the talent there can develop more naturally. Coversely if Roy goes to a team that has star talent I think he can be whatever they need him to be without effecting the chemistry.

  4. riverman says:

    I love the Blazers and Roy as well. Loyalty means something folks. Even Patrick Ewing played with ice bags on his knees for the Knicks and should have retired a Knick. Duncan should retire a spur even if his prime time minutes reduce. Teams forget how the fans feel about their teams. Paul Allen like Mark Cuban are not worried about money on any level. Brandon, in my opinion, earned his check all ready. I don’t see an upgrade. If his knees blow out this season the problem will take care of itself anyway. If they shop him, please bring local Oregonian Kevin Love home. He’s one of the few players I’d trade Roy for. If Roy was smart this summer, he should have been working on his 3 point shot like a madman. That’ll save his career. He’s been inconsistent from beyond the arc and the Blazers don’t have a lights out 3 pt shooter. Brandon has a lot to teach the new rookies coming in now. Everyone who’s played with him has nothing but praise for the guy. Right now the Blazers are deep. I think as deep as any team in the league. They just need chemistry with the new additions from last season and the draft

  5. RaymondG says:

    This long lock out shows us that the Owners care about the money and the business and that is it! I like Roy. but it is a bad business move to keep a guy who has nothing to stop the bones in his knees from rubbing together. That cant last!

    Their best option is to get him off their books and sign someone with better knees.

    they were willing to give up the whole season and millions of fan for a chance to compete. you think they wont give up one guy?

  6. Zzoe says:

    Look, I love B-Roy as a person and player, but biz is biz–his contract is costing too much, for 63 million u can get a guy who’s got a lot more in the tank–don’t let sentiment get int he way of practicality, Rich Cho. Trade him AND Greg Oden wile u can

  7. Fact Not Fiction says:

    Roy said himself during the last few games vs the Mavs that he felt good. I’m sure he’s healing up well. Now as for him needing to take a backseat, that’s understandable but Portland needs him. He should go easy this season and then explode come playoff time.

  8. SK says:

    The fan base of Portland is at least 80-90% behind keeping Brandon Roy, if not more. Paul Allen’s Twitter account has blown up, along with letters to the Oregonian, calls to the local sports radio, etc. on this topic, with overwhelming support for keeping Roy.

    This isn’t a smart business decision unless another team is ‘stupid enough’ to spend a LOT of money to get Roy, and it’s a bad basketball decision either way, as Roy is the soul of the franchise. I understand the issues related to attitude – keep him around for another year, though, and see if his contract remains an “albatross” or if he becomes merely “overpaid”. Cutting him next year, along with the other players leaving through free agency, would make Portland a player in 2012 free agency. This year, they’ve got exceptions and that’s it (which would be affected by cutting Roy, but not enough to make it worth it).

  9. James says:

    I feel bad for Roy. His bad health is cheating out what could’ve been a Hall of Fame career.

    I wish him the best.

  10. Ed says:

    Look at Grant Hill.

  11. it's a start says:

    How many articles can you write where the only valuable information is contained in the quotes? Maybe you should focus more on how you present actual info than trying to make flowery analysis that really is saying nothing new, interesting nor does it even offer a coherent point of view.

  12. Artin says:

    If you have any doubt on Brandon Roy, watch this video i made. It will change your mind.

  13. BT from Chicago says:

    The Bulls didn’t draft Roy or Aldridge when they had the opportunity. Well they did draft LaMarcus but gave him up for Tyrus Thomas and his 1 amazing dunk a week highlights. That said the Bulls would love a second opportunity to get Roy. Not quite the same guy, but everyone wishes they took a chance on Grant Hill several years ago. Roy should continue to heal and with proper training staff Roy could still give solid minutes and then amp up those minutes during crunch time. He would pair well with a no-nonsense Bulls team and backcourt mate of Derrick Rose. Waiting eagerly on this one – good luck Portand – hope you don’t screw things up like we did… or maybe I do!

  14. Ghostd says:

    Um I saw no poor decision making by Rick Cho! If Roy can play say 25 minutes a game this season he’ll lead the team deep in the playoffs and possible to the finals. Let’s think about this. Roy (Allstar), Aldridge(Should’ve been), Wallace (Defensive Maniac), Oden(A big man in the NBA where true big men are few), Felton (Should’ve been an All Star last season for the east). That would be you’re starting lineup for portland. Or Batum would start instead of roy. In which case Portland would have Roy, Matthews’s, Camby and maybe a couple of rookies off the bench. That’s a good team. That’s a really good team! I’ll the blazers have to do is trade for one good 3 point shooter to come off the bench (Matthews is good but he’s at his best when driving). Please do not screw up this Blazer season Miller and Co.

  15. Kenneth says:

    B Roy is still one of my favorite player regardless i just wish he can take that 6th man spot and be like a Jason Terry or JR Smith and not a shell of his former self like Vince Carter or T-Mac

  16. markyboi says:

    im a big fan of BRoy so i hope the blazers would still retain him. i reli would love to see him play alongside oden, aldridge, batum, and felton.

  17. Allan says:

    If game 4 of last years playoffs proves anything it is that Brandon Roy is capable of miracles if given the opportunity. I have a feeling that if the Blazers don’t give him that opportunity, but another franchise does, a poor amnesty decision will blow up in the face of the Portland front office. Portland shouldn’t worry about BROY as much as they should on finding a GM to make better decisions with the team.

  18. Jon says:

    I agree with what CWebb says in the video above. Although I think there has got to be a way to get cartiledge back into those knees. BRoy has been a great team player and taken this franchise from bad to good. I’d love to see him be able to get that ring with Oden playing – and the team that was drafted to go deep into the playoffs.

  19. marco says:

    All the best for Brandon, great shooting guard of our times

  20. Gary says:

    I hope the best for Roy whatever happens. I really just wish he could heal up right.