Brandon Roy, anybody? Batum to follow? Three questions in one title for an article?
Jason Quick of The Oregonian tweeted that Brandon Roy has come to a decision regarding his comeback.
It has since been confirmed by a lot of reporters and the figures are out. Brandon Roy is signing with the Timberwolves for two years and $10.4 million. It sounds like a lot for a player who recently retired due to his knees being unfit for court time, and possibly it is. Personally, I don’t think you can have bad contracts if they’re two years or shorter. Two year deals are a risk worth taking because the reward for a player like Roy regaining even 75% of his form for half of the time he was used to playing per game is immense.
If you don’ think Brandon Roy is capable of playing basketball anymore, I don’t blame you. It’s fairly common knowledge by now that Roy essentially is playing bone-on-bone with his knee joints. As someone with bad cartilage in one knee, I can assure you even walking down hill can be an excruciating process. I can’t even imagine what it must be like if there isn’t any cartilage in there at all. He’s been seeking treatment and second opinons on his knees recently and feels he has enough information and confidence to make this comeback.
At the same time, it feels almost masochistic in many ways to root for his comeback. Part of me is happy because the Wolves need quality wing players (BREAKING) and Brandon Roy, if healthy, is certainly a quality wing player. At the same, the other part of me feels like an accomplice to a crime if Roy ends up not being able to walk in a couple of years. I know it’s not up to any of us and only up to Brandon and his family, but things could get even worse than we thought they were a year ago. If that happens, is it worth it to have him on the team? Is it a scary moment each time he falls on the court? If he’s able to come back and be productive and relatively healthy, is it the type of inspiration you only hope to find in all of the fantastic Disney movies (company man!)?
As much as I want to worry about Roy, you have to trust that he knows what he’s doing with his body. You don’t expect him to be an expert on the biology behind it all, but you do expect him to have talked to enough specialists to know just how much risk and just how much reward are likely. If he’s healthy, he brings a legitimate wing player for roughly 20 minutes per night. He’s a playmaker that can score, set up others and take care of the ball. He’s a player that will probably be torched on defense and it’s unrealistic to concern yourself with that aspect of his game. He won’t be a grind-it-out type of weapon. He’ll be a selective tool at the disposal of Rick Adelman to get the job done.
Couper Moorhead tweeted, “Seems like the best course of action regarding Roy is to have absolutely no expectations whatsoever.”
I couldn’t agree more. I think the best you can do as Wolves fans, or just Roy fans in general, is to hope he’s healthy and expect next to nothing from him. Anything beyond that is gravy. And perhaps he’ll have a familiar face to help him out.
Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press tweeted that the Wolves and Nicolas Batum have agreed on an offer sheet of four years, $45 million with bonuses that can have it surpass $50 million. This news comes after Batum spent time in Portland with the front office and Neil Olshey telling Nic that it’s in his best interest to be with the Blazers. He even threatened the Blazers will match any offer sheet Batum might sign and were not willing to work out a sign-and-trade with a hopeful team.
So the Wolves have decided to call Portland’s bluff. The Blazers are flush with cap space and matching Batum’s offer sheet will not hurt them in the short-term or the long-term in the slightest. They just have to figure out if they believe they can make Batum love being in Portland when he’s professing just how much he wants to play with Ricky Rubio and in Rick Adelman’s system. During the season, I had conversations with scouts and various people around the league that expressed just how much players were falling in love with Rubio’s style of play and how they’d flock to Minnesota if given the chance. Names like Luol Deng, Kevin Martin, and Nicolas Batum were tossed around in the conversations, but you just assume that’s an exaggeration when talking amongst hoopheads.
Apparently, the assessment was valid, as Nic Batum has proven it with the first chance to join up with Ricky. Personally, I wouldn’t get too excited about Batum joining because it’s really hard to believe Portland won’t match the offer sheet. It’s reasonable enough to not really have to think about it. But what could be encouraging in terms of long-term gain for the Wolves is that wing players have already started jumping at the chance of playing for the Wolves with Rubio here. That’s with the knowledge that Rubio is trying to come back from a knee injury of his own.
Imagine if he proves to be healthy by the end of next season? Even if Batum doesn’t come now, are the floodgates starting to open toward the Wolves roster because of a pass-first-and-second point guard that finds his way into people’s hearts?
Regardless, we have to wait until July 11th for things to officially be signed and then the Blazers have three days to match or let Batum go. If they let him walk, the Wolves will have exactly what they hoped to get from Wes Johnson — a lanky small forward who can spread the floor and play harassing defense. It would also mean Darko will most likely have to be amnestied to make the money work. If Portland matches, the Wolves at least get to find out what Brandon Roy has in the tank and then move on to rounding out the roster. Greg Stiemsma and Anthony Tolliver will be in play. And the Wolves will have to still figure out bringing in one more wing player.