Brandon Roy has spent his entire career so far as a Portland Trail Blazer, and I never imagined seeing him in another team's uniform. He has done so much to help the Blazers become relevant and competitive again in the past few years.
It is probably still correct to say that even though LaMarcus Aldridge is arguably the best player on the roster at this point in time, Roy is still the heart and soul of the Blazers franchise, and will be for as long as he is on the team.
The proposed amnesty clause is a provision that appears to be coming out of the current talks between NBA owners and players. The result of using it on a player is that that a player's salary, while still being owed to him by his respective team, would no longer count against a team's salary cap figure. It would essentially be a do-over for teams that are now burdened down with at least one big contract owed to a player that is no longer producing at a high level, which is hindering their ability to be competitive going forward.
The argument for using the amnesty clause on Brandon Roy is that because of his knees injuries, he is no longer worthy of the near-max contract that he signed with the team a couple of years ago. It's not really clear if he is even capable of starting at the NBA level anymore, which makes it difficult to justify paying him the nearly $70 million he is owed over the next four seasons.
Of course, the amnesty clause wouldn't void the payment Roy's contract, only his obligation to continue playing for the Blazers; it would only mean that the team would continue to pay him, while not having that figure count towards their team payroll, and he would also be free to sign at any price with any other team.
If the Blazers do use the amnesty clause on Roy, he would almost certainly end up in Chicago or Boston, playing for the veteran's minimum, while providing quality minutes off the bench for a good team that's already competing for an NBA title.
It's hard to say whether he would prefer the more immediate chance to compete for a title over the relationship with the fans and organization that he has built up over the years in Portland. He didn't seem too happy when his role was reduced at first in last season's playoffs, and it's unclear if he would be willing to accept a reserve role with the team going forward.
Obviously Brandon Roy, when healthy, is one of the best shooting guards in the league. Some have put forth the idea that maybe he will be able to retool his game, one that wasn't really based on elite athleticism to begin with, to be consistent offensively, even with the limitations his knees now have placed upon his game.
Should the Blazers use the amnesty clause on Brandon Roy? I say no, because of a couple very good reasons.
Roy is still capable of playing and, one any given night, becoming the best player on the court. He has the heart of a champion and is a true closer that can take over in the fourth quarter.
Medical procedures always seem to be improving, and despite the grave nature of Roy's condition as far as basketball is concerned, there's a chance that some new procedure could come along which would restore some of what he has lost in the last two years.
It's not likely that the proposed hard salary cap would take effect immediately, meaning it would only be for a year or two that the Blazers would have to worry about Roy's contract impeding their ability to sign other players.
It would be heartbreaking for Blazers fans to see Roy leave and then shine somewhere else. It appears that teams would most likely not be able to re-sign the player that they use the clause on, meaning the only way Roy stays on the team is if they don't use the clause on him.
I know that a lot of fans, including a lot of Blazers fans, would argue with me and say that with the money the Blazers would save by moving Roy, they could afford to re-sign other important players and bring in some good free agents, possibly some of those that are let go by other teams.
All that is true, and money is money, but there is something to be said for team, for chemistry and for the way a player is able to connect with a fan base. Roy is able to electrify the Rose Garden in a way that no other player can right now. The goal should be to contend for a title, but not at the expense of moving a fan favorite like Roy because of issues that are beyond his control.
I think we should finish this run with Brandon Roy together, and see what he can do going forward.