Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Three-time all-star Brandon Roy didn’t play at all in the Trailblazers Game 2 loss to the Mavericks. In a post-game interview, Roy admitted that he was upset with the team’s handling of his minutes—or lack thereof.
Realistically though, the Blazers are handling Roy correctly. If he were still the Brandon Roy from three years ago, he would no doubt be in the lineup. But he isn’t, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who believes he will ever be that player again.
What has happened to Roy is sad. For a brief moment in time, he was that rare player who could be the face of a franchise both on and off the court.
But his knees have failed him. Like Bill Walton and countless others before him, Roy has been betrayed by his body.
It is understandable that Roy does not want to believe what has happened. He has played through so many knee injuries in the past, including coming back early from a fairly significant one to play in last year’s playoffs, that he must view his current state as a temporary one, one that he can play through again.
However, by all accounts this year is different because this time his knees are gone, and they aren’t coming back.
Roy’s frustration with the team merely gives a voice to the frustration he feels with his own career. Roy is only 26 years old. It is appropriate that he is having trouble coming to grips with the end of his professional life.
For the Blazers, this is much more than the mid-life-crisis-of-sorts that Roy is undergoing. This situation could become a real problem very quickly.
Portland is stuck with Roy, and Roy with the Blazers. He is beloved by fans, and the team has echoed this sentiment by giving him a maximum contract, $49 million of which is still owed. They are paying Roy like he is still a franchise guy. He is untradeable. And now, stuck in Portland for the foreseeable future, the team’s star is vocally bashing the team and the coaching staff. These are all bad signs.
If Roy keeps his opinions to himself, and moves on with the little career he has left, this situation can be salvaged. Maybe Portland buys him out and he retires early, living out his days as a fondly remembered local icon.
If he continues to take issue with the team for moving on without him though, things will snowball quickly. Fans will turn on him, and he will become a distraction. The Blazers decision to not play Roy in a playoff game is certainly not a personal one, but if he continues to perceive it that way, things in Portland could really get out of hand fast.