Brandon Roy gave it everything he had to try to resurrect a playing career derailed by chronic knee problems.
He had platelet-rich plasma therapy on his knees last summer to get himself in position to sign a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He worked hard in training camp to get his body in shape for the NBA after missing the previous year when he retired from Portland. And when the knee issues came up again early in the season, Roy had one more arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in a last-ditch effort to get on the court one last time.
In the end, his knees wouldn’t cooperate. And now his career may have come to a painful close once and for all. The Timberwolves waived Roy on Friday, which could mark the end of an All-Star career that was shortened by knee problems.
”We wish Brandon and his family all the best in the future,” new Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders said in a statement issued by the team.
Roy retired before last season when he couldn’t alleviate the bone-on-bone pain in his knees that stopped the three-time All-Star from being the smooth, playmaking shooting guard that made him a franchise cornerstone in six seasons with the Blazers. But after getting some time to rest and trying the same advanced procedure that Kobe Bryant and others have used in the past, Roy felt good enough to try a comeback.
He signed a two-year deal worth more than $10 million to join the Timberwolves, who were desperately in need of a big, shot-making shooting guard to play alongside Ricky Rubio in the backcourt. After a promising training camp, the knee issues quickly returned.
Roy first was hurt again in a collision in a preseason game with the Indiana Pacers. He played five games at the start of the regular season, but that was all he could manage. He had arthroscopic surgery in December and tried several other methods of rehabilitation and therapy as the season progressed. Each time he thought he was getting close to returning, the pain would return.
The 28-year-old Roy averaged 5.8 points and 4.6 assists in his five games with the Wolves.
The second season of his deal was not guaranteed, making Roy’s release inevitable. The Wolves will get roughly $5.3 million in salary cap room by making the move, which will help Saunders pursue other alternatives for shooting guard this summer, which remains the team’s biggest need. Free agents like O.J. Mayo or Kevin Martin, who played for coach Rick Adelman in Houston, could be possibilities, and the Wolves will also consider trading for a veteran and using their two first-round draft picks to improve its shooting from the perimeter.
The Wolves will be looking to add size to the position after using Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved, all on the smaller side, at shooting guard for most of the season.