Six years later, Brandon Roy indeed is a Timberwolf.
When he appeared at Target Center for a July 31 introductory news conference, he left on display in his mother's Seattle living room the blue Wolves cap he wore so briefly on draft night 2006, when the Wolves selected him and then quickly traded his rights to Portland for Randy Foye and a big chunk of cash.
"Better late than never," Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said.
Roy made three NBA All-Star Games in five seasons after the Wolves picked him sixth overall and then dealt him.
Now he is back to the place he never really was, hoping to resume a career that temporarily ended for a season because of two knees that have no cartilage -- and never will again.
That one-season retirement is over, and he made sure to mention it was never his idea in the first place.
He also declared himself rested and ready after a season's rest and after undergoing the same platelet-rich blood plasma therapy medical procedure that gave Kobe Bryant's knee relief.
He believes his knees -- they can't ever be repaired, but the procedure reduces swelling after exercise and provides pain relief -- will help him withstand the grind of an 82-game NBA season, plus playoffs.
But ... will he ever be great again?
"Yeah, that's the goal," Roy said. "That's the whole reason I'm coming back. I told David when we met that I wouldn't be coming back if I didn't think I could reach a high level of basketball. You say great. I just call it a high level. I want to play at a high level and, right now, my body is giving me all the signs that I can do that."
In retrospect, Roy suggests his short retirement was prompted by a Trail Blazers team doctor who recommended it was best for Roy and his damaged knees. It also was in the Blazers' best financial interests as well because they used the new labor agreement's amnesty clause to pay him the remaining $63 million on his contract and wipe much of that off their salary-cap books.
"It was never really officially my decision to retire, you know?" Roy said. "It was never a situation where I said, 'I'm done forever.' It's just more of a pause."
Just to be sure it was only a pause, Roy worked out privately for two months last winter before he quietly put out feelers to NBA teams that he might be interested in a comeback. He underwent the therapy in Los Angeles in May and worked out with Wolves assistant coach Bill Bayno -- a Blazers assistant for four of Roy's seasons in Portland -- there for three days in June.
Kahn and R.J. Adelman, director of player personnel, watched one of those workouts and came away convinced the 28-year-old is worth gambling a protected two-year contract that will pay $5 million this season.
If he's healthy, Roy will address the Wolves' needs for a legitimately sized shooting guard and for a veteran who's eager and capable of having the ball in his hands at the end of games. Either way, his experience and veteran demeanor will help a young team in the locker room.
Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.