My favorite sports memory
There are reports (assist Pinwheel Empire) that the Blazers will use their amnesty clause to waive Brandon Roy. This would come as no surprise. Presented with the word “amnesty” I imagine many Blazers fans would automatically think of Roy. That’s normal when a player with severe injury problems has four seasons and some $68 million left on his contract.
The benefit of using the amnesty clause to waive Roy is clear; the significant salary cap relief would better position the team to improve its roster (or sign four more point guards). Yet only a Vulcan could feel totally pleased with such a decision. Using the amnesty clause on Roy would be a rational move but carries with it an undeniable melancholy. Roy was more than a very good player. He symbolized the rebirth of the Blazers. He was evidence that smart people were running the franchise and that fortune could actually shine on the team. As a rookie Roy stood up to Zach Randolph in the locker room following a loss, an encouraging anecdote often used to illustrate the transformation that was underway. The heavy losses, the off-court troubles, the negativity, and the lack of leadership were over. Roy was destined to helm an elite team that was the spiritual successor to the beloved Blazers of the early nineties.
Because of everything he represented I’m having trouble accepting Roy as just another data point on the chart illustrating the snake bitten Portland Trailblazers. But fortunes can change quickly. So recently a symbol of hope, Roy has quickly come to represent a franchise with questionable leadership and terrible luck. Management admitted to knowing that Roy’s knees were unhealthy when they offered him a max contract, even as they simultaneously had a heavy bet on another oft-injured star in Greg Oden. With the start of the lockout shortened season less than one month away the Blazers are still without a General Manager and with many holes to fill on the roster.
It feels strange to talk and write about Roy in the past-tense as if he has already left the team. Maybe the Blazers will be convinced to be more patient and monitor Roy for a longer period of time before making the decision to waive him. The reported severity of Roy’s injuries makes me skeptical that he will ever regain his old form entirely and it’s hard to justify maximum money to a player that is not elite. Using the amnesty clause to waive Roy feels inevitable. If the move is inevitable it is better to waive Roy sooner rather than later and let both parties move on rather than languish. It pains me to say, but sometimes the Vulcans are right.