Could Roy be Terry’s replacement in Dallas?

DALLAS — “Lord willing,” Brandon Roy recently said, “I will play again soon.”

The Dallas Mavericks are working on that assumption, having already started the recruiting process even before opening day of NBA free agency to pinpoint the three-time All-Star with the worrisome knees. Dallas — one of a handful of teams “on his doorstep” this weekend — envisions the ex-Portland Trail Blazers star as a “Jet replacement,” a source told DallasBasketball.com/FOXSportsSouthwest.com.

Here’s the update on the pursuit, the knees and the competition for Brandon Roy’s services — and what Jason Terry (and Josh Howard?) have to do with all of this.

THE COMPETITION

DallasBasketball.com reported Thursday morning that the Dallas Mavericks were targeting Roy, and that’s come to fruition. (Because the Blazers had used the amnesty clause to waive Roy, he didn’t have to wait for the customary FA recruiting route.) Roy’s first meeting as Saturday turned to Sunday was with the Minnesota Timberwolves, a club with which he has ties. Multiple outlets reported that Wolves sent a team of executives, including owner Glen Taylor, to the Pacific Northwest to court Roy.

Yahoo.com reported the Bulls, Pacers and Warriors joined the Wolves and Mavs on Roy’s five-team wish list. The Warriors’ GM is Bob Myers, and there is a unique tie there: He used to serve as Roy’s agent.

“I told (Roy) when he was amnesty-ed,” Myers recently told CSNBayArea.com. “… ‘I hope this isn’t it
for you. Make sure this isn’t it.’ He’s said publicly he wants to come back, so
I’ll start to talk to him. It depends how everything goes for us and what his
expectations are and all of that. But absolutely I’ll talk to him.”

THE INJURIES

On Dec. 15, 2011, the Blazers announced they’d used the amnesty clause to waive Roy. That led to Roy’s announced retirement at the age of 27.

When he was right, he was Dwyane-Wade-like, a 2-guard with the ability to take over a game from either guard position.

But Roy has been training over the past several months with the goal of joining an NBA roster for the start of the season. The 6-foot-6 former standout underwent surgery on both knees, however, and has little or no cartilage left in either knee.

Of course, even on those bad wheels — as painful as it often was to watch — Roy could do some marvelous things.

Or don’t you remember Game 4 in Portland as he and the Blazers almost derailed what would be Dallas’ 2011 championship run?

Can something called “platelet-rich plasma therapy treatment” and rehabbing in Seattle, as he’s been doing all spring, lead to a recapturing of that sort of brilliance? Roy had his best statistical season for the Blazers in 2008-09, when he averaged 22.6 points, 5.1 assists and 4.7 rebounds. It’s been suggested to me that those days are done, that he’s not destined to be a dominant “isolation” player ever again. (And of course, the Mavs’ medical staff will be deeply involved in helping to make that determination).

BUT CAN HE BE JET?

What if Roy is never again quite like Wade but he’s able to be a rotation contributor as a perimeter sharpshooter off the bench? That is to say: What if he’s an affordable Jason Terry?

Jet’s not gone yet. But Dallas’ pursuit of Deron Williams, if successful, likely will mean the Mavs will renounce the rights to longtime hero Terry. Dallas might lose Jet, and Boston might lose Ray Allen (who, of course, has filled a similar role there). So as Yahoo.com noted, the Celtics are pursuing Terry. In fact, my understanding is that Boston and Miami are prepared to engage in a bidding war for Allen. The team that finishes second then will point its wallet at Jet.

Terry, however, isn’t going to wait around for the Deron Williams shoe to drop. Meanwhile, Dallas’ reported interest in Josh Howard is, I’m told, “preliminary.” Terry will turn 35 in September. He averaged 15 points for the Mavericks last season and was a key player in the Dallas’ 2011 title run and in its locker-room culture. Previous to that, of course, Howard was part of that culture — and was ousted three seasons ago when he struggled to conform to the locker room’s wishes.

According to those who know Roy, that never will be an issue with whatever team he joins. Indeed, if he’s able to come back, he serves as a feel-good story and a work-ethic example for teammates.

And in Dallas, maybe a replacement for Jason Terry.