Last time I mentioned the current state of Brandon Roy and the Portland Trailblazers on these blogwaves it appeared an epic run together, that once looked as promising as any in the Association, was coming to a close.
There were reports of Portland’s plans to use the Amnesty Clause on Roy immediately, not even bringing him into the facility for training camp, and the heroic moments of Game Four last postseason would be washed away by tidal waves of injury, basketball, and business.
In the words of Lee Corso however, that’s not happening just yet I guess. Instead of simply cutting Brandon Roy through use of the Amnesty provision, the talk coming out of Blazers’ camp now is that Roy could actually be a starter in Portland this season. That noise you hear in the background is Wesley Matthews launching his Beats By Dre headphones against the wall I think.
This from Blazers Team President Larry Miller and Head Coach Nate McMillan yesterday (via The Oregonian):
“Our plan is for Brandon to be a part of this team going forward,” team president Larry Miller said. “Hopefully he will show us what he can do.”
Miller, acting GM Chad Buchanan and coach Nate McMillan met with Roy, then talked about the upcoming season in an afternoon news conference at the Rose Garden. They revealed that Roy told them he feels better than he did at the start of last season, and at the moment it seems the team might not use the amnesty clause to waive Roy, as many figured it would.
McMillan, in fact, went so far as to say he would consider starting Roy, a three-time All-Star who was limited to 47 games last season because of issues with his knees.
“We have not seen him back in the starting lineup,” McMillan said. “That’s something we’re going to take a look at.”
I’m not totally sure how the rhetoric can go from ‘Amnesty Clause / cut Brandon Roy to Brandon Roy may need to be a starter on this team after all’ in only a week. Unless, [I am about to purely speculate and have no sources to this point] the backlash from fans in Portland was so much that Larry Miller and ownership felt that not only did they have to keep Roy, but they also needed to play him as much as possible. By putting him out there, especially as a starter, it would be clear one way or another what Roy has left in the tank immediately. If he can’t go, the obvious ‘see we told you’ card is available to be played, and they can cut him then. If he can go, great, good for the Blazers for keeping him around to find out and give their guy another chance. [Ending pure speculation]
What’s dicey about this situation is the playing time, minutes, and shots available to Wesley Matthews out in Portland if Roy is heavily featured in the rotation. Matthews is kinda climbing into that spot once occupied by Roy on that team, and he’s a young wing player who the Blazers just heavily invested in (over $6 million per season through 2015). It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out should Roy actually be inserted into the starting line-up, something he only did in 23 of the 47 games he appeared in last season. Meanwhile, Wesley Matthews started in 69 of the 82 games he played, averaging 16 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in over 33 minutes per night.
In the very least though, I applaud the Blazers for at least bringing Roy into training camp to see how he’s holding up. Regardless of motive, they owed him that much I think. We’ll see where it goes from there.