Nov 28, 2011, 9:35 PM EDT
Is it time for the Portland Trail Blazers to cut bait with Brandon Roy?
Blazers appear ready to exercise amnesty on Brandon Roy…. Hoping they take a longer look at him before they do it.
Roy has four years, $68 million left on his contract — which was not a bad deal at the time, he was one of the top guards in the game and is still just 27. But there is no cartlidge left in his knee — it’s bone-on-bone — which is why he played just 47 games last season and can’t be counted on to do the heavy lifting any more.
Still, should the Blazers take a longer look at him, bring him into training camp as Canzano suggested? On one hand it can’t hurt. The thing is, Roy may look good in camp after a summer of treatment and rest. The real question is how his knee feels in February, in April and through the playoffs. Last year he gave us one brilliant playoff game, but is that enough?
What about keeping Roy around longer? To keep Roy around for one more season would cost the Blazers about $8 million, Ben Golliver estimated for CSNNW.com. He thinks that’s worth the test.
A test year for Roy would give the once-vaunted Roy/Aldridge/Oden trio one last shot at playoff success, delaying the roster explosion decision until next fall. It could allow the Blazers to focus their short-term free agency efforts on adding better-than-minimum quality to their frontcourt and would help keep the all-important chemistry and continuity from last season despite all the lockout turmoil. Roy sells tickets, captures imaginations and has been the face of the franchise for roughly four years. A fast, clean break will not come without significant public relations costs; cutting ties means killing hope, however unlikely, for a return to All-Star form. If it’s your job to sell tickets and court sponsors, aren’t you pitching Allen that the extra $8 million will produce some bottom-line benefits?
I’m not convinced. Roy is not going to be an All-Star again. Portland needs a new star to replace him and they can try to get that through free agency or the deep upcoming draft. But to see if Roy has some magic left for a full season — and maybe Greg Oden can come back too and contribute — seems more fantasy than reality.
All that said, it’s Paul Allen’s team, who knows what they will do? We’d ask the GM but they don’t have a permanent one.
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