Published November 20, 2014
Brandon Roy has come full circle.
The former All-Star is on his way to Minneapolis to start his much-anticipated comeback in the same city his career nearly began seven years ago.
There are quite a few reasons why the Minnesota Timberwolves haven't made the playoffs since 2004 and most of them involve personnel decisions made by the organization.
One of the most egregious Kevin McHale miscues can be traced back to draft night in 2006 when the Wolves made the prudent decision to draft Roy with the sixth overall pick. That moment of clarity by the tortured Minnesota hierarchy was short-lived, however, and McHale quickly traded Roy to Portland for the seventh overall selection, Randy Foye.
The rest is history and has haunted the Wolves for years. Foye never developed into anything more than a competent NBA player and never touched the heights that Roy reached in Rip City.
Roy was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2007 and while he was no Kevin Garnett or Kobe Bryant, he developed into a bit of a fixture at the NBA All-Star Game, representing the Trail Blazers three straight years before his balky knees caught up to him in 2011.
One of the reasons McHale made his ill-fated decision back in '06 was his concern over Roy's knees, and by January 2011 the wingman underwent arthroscopic surgery on both, which held off the inevitable for a short time. The Seattle native returned to the Portland lineup in late February of that year and took on a reserve role for the rest of the season.
Extra rest fueled by the NBA lockout proved to be no tonic for Roy and just before training camps were scheduled to open last season, he announced that his knees had degenerated so much that he was retiring from basketball. Following the announcement, Portland used its amnesty clause on Roy and his time in the Pacific Northwest was over.
His time in the NBA, however, was not. In hindsight that should be no surprise. A throwback of sorts, the 27-year-old Roy has always been a competitor, the kind of warrior who was never going to turn down an opportunity to get back on the hardwood.
Roy's ticket back to the NBA came in the form of a German-engineered blood spinning procedure called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, which rejuvenated his knees. Bryant and star athletes from other sports like Alex Rodriguez, Fred Couples and Tiger Woods have undergone similar treatments and raved about them.
With Roy back in play, Dallas, Golden State, Minnesota, Indiana and Chicago, perhaps remembering his exploits in Portland, all expressed some interest but the Timberwolves, a team on the rise and looking to make a push toward the postseason in 2013, put on the full-court press.
Owner Glen Taylor, president of basketball operations David Kahn, coach Rick Adelman, and trainer Greg Farnam all went to visit with Roy and his agent in Seattle and hammered out a two-year, $10.4 million deal which will provide Minnesota some protection in case Roy's knees fail again.
The Wolves understand Roy is now probably best-suited as a sixth man who plays about 20-25 minutes per game and will not put much pressure on him. In fact, Adelman is expecting nothing more than for Roy to come in and offer a veteran presence to compliment All-Star power forward Kevin Love and emerging point guard Ricky Rubio.
So seven years after Roy should have made his debut in the Twin Cities, he will finally call Target Center home come November. And the Wolves will almost assuredly taste postseason basketball again because of it.