A year removed from Basketball, Brandon Roy has been working as hard as possible to get himself in shape for a comeback with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Talking with the Associated Press on Thursday, he discussed the road to recovery, and how the three-time NBA All-Star sees 'no setbacks' that will prevent him from playing this season.
After years of issues with his knees, Roy now finds himself in a pleasantly unusual situation, playing without pain.
"That's the biggest thing I'm excited about is I'm in the gym, I'm working hard and coach has to tell me to stop playing instead of me saying, `OK that's enough. I'm feeling my knees."'
Brandon Roy's presence isn't just about what he brings to the table for a team in need of scoring from their guard positions, but also a work ethic that permeates the entire organization. It's easy to forget just how young the Timberwolves are, until you realize that Roy is an elder statesman, and he's only 28. From the perspective of Wolves assistant coach Shawn Respert, his presence has been noticable at workouts.
"With Brandon it's just a healthy attitude where he wants to see how much he can push himself to that limit before we have to shut him down and be smart about it," Respert said. "He's been spectacular so far as far as the mentality, his toughness, his willingness to do what we ask him to do and still find that little bit of room to do a little bit more."
Minnesota's approach to team building may be a little more haphazard than other young teams around the league, but thus far the decision to bring Brandon Roy into the fold has been a sage one. With a young nucleus of Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, and Nikola Pekovic, now bolstered with the likes of Roy, Chase Budinger and Andrei Kirilenko, the organization got decidedly older, but also more mature. No longer simply the next young team in line, the Timberwolves look to place themselves in position to make a run in 2012-13, and with Brandon Roy's knees feeling good, that run will be a lot more comfortable.
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Roy sat out the 2011-12 season due to a degenerative knee condition but decided to make a comeback earlier this offseason. The Timberwolves visited Roy in Seattle last week. Roy also drew interest from several other teams including the Golden State Warriors, who he also visited.
The deal with Roy could throw a wrench into Minnesota's plans to sign Nicolas Batum to an offer sheet. The Timberwolves were reportedly set to offer Batum $45-50 million over four years, but now they may have to make an additional move first.
If this dollar figure is true, Minny either has to amnesty Darko and renounce Tolliver, or offer Batum much less $.
Brandon Roy didn't play in the NBA in 2011-12, having "retired" in the 2011 offseason after a degenerative knee condition diminished the form that made him one of the league's best shooting guards for part of the last decade. But he's going to play in 2012-13, and will reportedly do so for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Wolves used Martell Webster (6.9 points per game), Wayne Ellington (6.1 points per game) and Malcolm Lee (3.3 points per game) at shooting guard in 2011-12. Roy scored just 12.2 points per game in 2010-11, but his career average of 19.0 points per game is a little healthier — and if he's a little healthier than he was at the end of his Portland career, he could be a big pick-up for the Wolves.
Roy announced his retirement in December after a couple of years of knee injuries after knee injuries. Instead of filing for medical retirement so that the Portland Trail Blazers could receive cap relief, the Blazers used the amnesty waiver on Roy. Some (including yours truly) considered it a ruse to avoid fan outrage at using the amnesty clause on Roy, a beloved player. Given that Roy is prepared to return to the NBA less than a year later, that is a bit more believable.
The Wolves actually drafted Roy in 2006 and traded him to the Blazers for Randy Foye, setting off a terrible chain of events for the entire state of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Timberwolves met with free agent guard Brandon Roy on Friday, writes Minneapolis reporter Darren Wolfson (via SB Nation Minnesota). Roy was waived via the amnesty clause in December by the Portland Trail Blazers due to continued knee issues; before the waiver, he announced his medical retirement. Some of us sniffed that out as a ruse, a way to make the Blazers' amnesty waiver more palatable to fans. If Roy returns this quickly, it will have been obvious.
The Wolves desperately need backcourt help for Ricky Rubio. J.J. Barea was not great in his first season in Minnesota, and the Wolves didn't pick up a wing in the 2012 NBA Draft. They did trade the No. 18 pick for Chase Budinger, who could fill some minutes at small forward and two-guard, but Roy -- if he's even a shade of his former All-Star self -- is a much bigger fish.
The Wolves were able to meet with Roy before the start of free agency on Sunday because he has been a free agent for several months. Most players remain under contract until June 30.