Brandon Roy's Best Landing Spots for NBA Comeback
Roy partook in pre-draft workouts at the Portland Trail Blazers' workout facility. Tony Wroten, a combo guard prospect in this year’s draft out of Washington, was impressed by his play.
Unfortunately for Trail Blazers fans, Roy is not eligible to come back to Portland until the 2014-15 season because the team exercised the amnesty clause in his contract following his medical retirement.
Due to the fact that Roy plans to return next season, the Trail Blazers will not find themselves on the list of possible suitors.
Nevertheless, here are eight NBA teams who can target Roy this summer to bolster their roster with a once great NBA talent.
In addition to a brief breakdown of the move to each team on this list, I'll include rankings for Roy based upon financial possibilities, health and winning.
Those rankings will be ranked as A, B or C (A is best, B is average and C is the worst).
O.J. Mayo has a $7.4 million qualifying offer to stay with the Grizzlies this summer, but I doubt that Memphis will exercise that option.
If they don’t extend the qualifying offer, Mayo will become a restricted free agent, so Memphis will still have the ultimate decision as to where he goes. However, after two disappointing seasons for Mayo, after a great rookie and sophomore year, it’s unclear how interested the Grizzlies will be.
Brandon Roy could be a cheaper replacement for Mayo because of question marks about how healthy he’ll be. The Grizzlies already have a ton of talent on their squad because of their frontcourt, which includes Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay. Adding a healthy Roy to the backcourt may be the missing piece to their championship aspirations.
If Brandon Roy ultimately decides to make his NBA comeback with the Phoenix Suns, we’ll immediately know that staying healthy is his biggest concern (and who could blame him).
The Suns have far and away the best training staff in the NBA, led by head athletic trainer Aaron Nelson. Nelson and company have been able to rejuvenate the careers of Michael Redd, Shaquille O’Neal and Grant Hill. Not to mention the fact that they've kept Nash healthy and playing at an extremely high level into his late 30’s.
Perhaps the best example of Nelson’s wizardry as a trainer is Hill’s time in Phoenix thus far. After many years of health problems in Orlando that threatened to end Hill’s career, he played 70 games, 82 games, 81 games and 80 games over the course of his first four years in the Valley of the Sun. Credit the Suns’ great training staff for Hill’s resurgent durability.
The Suns also have a lot of cap space this summer, so Roy would likely get a bigger offer compared with other teams on this list if he were to join Phoenix.
However, if he joined the Suns, Roy probably wouldn’t have winning on his mind. The Suns failed to make the playoffs last season even with Steve Nash playing fantastically and leading the charge. If Nash leaves this summer in free agency (I’d rule that likely), the Suns will be even worse next season.
New York Knicks
Back in 2010, Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio wrote about the possibility of a Brandon Roy trade, listing the New York Knicks as one of the possible suitors.
Now that all the Knicks have to do to acquire Roy is sign him as a free agent, I think New York will be a team in the running.
Rumors that Roy could join the Knicks in New York are already surfacing among fans, and I believe a Roy-to-New-York situation is certainly plausible.
The Knicks are a playoff contender with an up-tempo style, which could help Roy’s transition back into the NBA since he’d likely get a lot of open looks in transition.
Roy could start for the Knicks or provide a spark off the bench, but they wouldn’t be dependent on his scoring for success, which is certainly a positive because Roy could just go out and play.
It’s unfair to blame the Knicks’ training staff for the injuries sustained to players last season during the grueling shortened schedule, but the sheer amount of those injuries is alarming.
Jeremy Lin, Iman Shumpert and Baron Davis all sustained catastrophic knee injuries last season, ending all three of their seasons (and possibly B-Diddy’s career).
Additionally, Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were on and off the disabled list seemingly all season long.
If Roy has concerns about his health moving forward, he may want to choose a location that doesn’t appear hexed with bad juju.
There’s no guarantee that Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen will be back in Boston next season (probably more true for Allen than for KG).
Nevertheless, the Celtics are still a highly competitive team in the NBA that have a shot at a title again next season should Danny Ainge choose to keep the right pieces together (keep in mind they were just one win away from beating the Miami Heat and advancing to the finals this year).
Brandon Roy would fit in right away with the other veterans on the Celts’ roster, and could provide an offensive spark either in a starting role to replace Allen, or by coming off the bench.
The fact that the Celtics have a defensive-minded guard in Avery Bradley to take the pressure off Roy if he finds trouble staying in front of quicker guards will only help Roy if he decides to go to Boston.
Golden State Warriors
Although the Golden State Warriors may seem like an odd team for Roy to join next year, it makes sense for an interesting reason.
Colin Becht of CSN Bay Area wrote about the possibility of a Roy comeback to the Warriors because Roy is a native of the West Coast, and Bob Myers, the Warriors’ general manager, also happens to be Roy’s former agent.
An odd connection to say the least, but I don’t think Warriors fans will complain because Roy would vastly improve their team moving forward if he’s back to his old self.
A backcourt trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Roy would likely put up a lot of points.
In a loaded Western Conference, I’m still not sold that the Warriors are a playoff contender. They did suffer a lot of injuries and change last season, but they were still the third-worst team in the west.
Los Angeles Clippers
Personally, I love this fit for Roy next year.
Outside of the Clippers’ big three of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan (plus Caron Butler for good measure), the Clippers roster is a mystery next season.
Mo Williams has a player option to return at $8.5 million next season (and there’s an ice cube’s chance in Arizona he turns that option down, because he's certainly not going to get that kind of cash elsewhere). Outside of Williams, Randy Foye, Chauncey Billups and Nick Young are all set to be free agents.
The Clips need backcourt depth for next season and Roy can provide that. In my opinion, this is where Roy should choose to go (I’m saying this even as a Suns' fan).
However, the decision is ultimately up to Roy and there are other suitors in the NBA who could also provide good fits, the list is not over yet.
After a disappointing first round playoff exit that hinged on Derrick Rose’s untimely knee injury, the Chicago Bulls should look to add depth to the roster, especially in the scoring department.
Mark Strotman of CSN Chicago has speculated at the possibility of Roy joining the Bulls this summer. With a draft pick late in the first round this year, the Bulls could find a capable shooting guard like Doron Lamb or John Jenkins to bolster the roster, but Roy is already a proven NBA talent.
The Bulls would've had a great chance at a title this season had Rose not hurt himself, so simply getting him healthy is the main priority.
However, adding depth of talent would help this team moving forward, and Roy can provide that.
Los Angeles Lakers
After a playoff dismantling at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Los Angeles Lakers no longer look like a superpower in the Western Conference. General Manager Mitch Kupchak has already hinted at change for next season and the Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum trio seems unlikely to stick around.
One of the Lakers’ key weaknesses last season was their lack of firepower off the bench. They had one of the worst second units in the NBA headlined by the likes of Matt Barnes and Steve Blake.
The only downside to Roy joining the Lakers is the financial aspect. Right now the Lakers are more than $30 million over the salary cap for next season. They’d only be able to sign Roy to the “mini” mid-level exception of about $3 million, or the veteran's minimum. If money is no object to Roy, I can see him going to Los Angeles, but it’s important to take note of the Lakers' financial woes.
Roy would be an instant upgrade who could come off the bench and provide an offensive spark. Is he the missing piece to getting the Lakers back to the NBA finals next season? That remains to be seen.