3:00pm: The Timberwolves have officially released Roy, according to the team (Twitter link).
2:15pm: The Timberwolves are finalizing the release of Brandon Roy, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. While the move isn't official yet, an announcement from the team is expected soon, according to Wojnarowski.
Roy signed a two-year deal with the T-Wolves last summer, but the second year of that deal became nonguaranteed when his knee problems resurfaced, meaning Minnesota won't be on the hook for the 28-year-old's $5.33MM salary for next season.
Roy's return to the NBA following his 2011 retirement was a disappointing one, as injuries limited him to just five games for the Wolves, in which he scored a total of 29 points. It's not clear yet if Roy will officially announce his retirement for the second time or whether he'll attempt to continue his playing career, but it's hard to imagine him playing in the NBA again.
Even if Roy does retire, he'll continue to receive pay checks from the Trail Blazers for a little longer yet. Because he was amnestied by Portland, Roy will receive the full amount of his five-year, $82MM contract, which runs through the 2014/15 season.
Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune believes that several topics of discussion surrounding the Timberwolves are tied to whether or not Rick Adelman decides to return as head coach next season, namely Andrei Kirilenko's $10MM player option as well as the impending free agencies of Nikola Pekovic and Chase Budinger. Another question mark is tied to future of GM David Kahn, as majority team owner Glen Taylor maintains that he is undecided on Kahn's future and has no timetable on a decision. Zgoda has more things to discuss about the team, and you can find the highlights below:
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor identifies the uncertainty surrouding the future of coach Rick Adelman as his top offseason concern, but his comments to Ray Richardson of St. Paul Pioneer Press seemed to dispel this week's report that Adelman is likely to retire. Taylor plans on Adelman coming back, and doesn't have a contingency in place if Adelman steps down. The owner said he isn't sure if assistant Terry Porter, who filled for Adelman during his absence, would be the choice. "If Rick were to leave, I would want to think about all options we have available to us. My thought process right now would be to not look at just one person," Taylor said.
Richardson's Q&A with Taylor is worth a read in its entirety, but we'll hit the highlights here:
On the future of GM David Kahn:
I haven't come to the time to make a decision on that. Let's finish the season first. I want to find out about my coach first. I don't have a time frame to address David's situation. He and I have been talking about the draft and other things as we go into the offseason. At some point, I know I need to make a decision.
On his relationship with Flip Saunders:
First of all, Flip was just trying to help a friend who had an outside group, but that group never submitted a bid. I have a coach and I have a GM. Me and Flip have not talked about those things. What we talk about mostly is his work at ESPN and what's going on in the league. I have maintained a friendship with Flip. We kept in touch when he was at Washington and Detroit.
On a potential sale of the team:
I haven't come up with anybody who meets all the needs. One of my problems is that I haven't found anybody who lives in Minnesota or has a Minnesota background. The interest has come from people outside the state. I'm interested in a local person buying the team on a limited partner basis. Right now, I don't have a strong feeling that I want to get rid of the team. I still enjoy it. I was thinking of a long run to try to find a successor, but I might keep things the way they are.
On Nikola Pekovic's restricted free agency this summer:
I want him to stay, and he has told me he wants to stay. It's to our advantage to try and work something out with him. We know and he knows he's able to test the market. When he tells me he wants to stay, I take him for his word, but agents play a big role in all of this.
On the notion that the team's signing of Brandon Roy was a mistake:
It's fair criticism ... for me and David. We did take a risk, and it was proven to be a wrong risk. There were other players out there with some experience who we could have gotten, who would have helped us at a position (shooting guard) where we needed help. We're out of the money this year ($5.1MM), but based on the contract we have, we don't have to pay him next year if he doesn't play.
Two months ago, Brandon Roy told Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com that he would have to seriously consider retirement if he couldn't get healthy and return to the court by season's end. Roy hasn't appeared in a game since making those comments, but according to Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (Sulia link), the veteran guard is holding out hope that he can play in at least one of the Timberwolves' last five games.
The fact that Roy believes he's healthy enough to return to action this season also means he's looking to continue his playing career. However, according to Bucher, Roy's contract is written in such a way that he's not sure whether he'll still be under Wolves' control -- his agents at Wasserman Media Group and the players' union will examine the language of the deal more closely to determine whether he can become a free agent this summer, says Bucher.
Based on the contract details we heard from Mark Deeks of ShamSports last offseason, I would assume Roy's deal has in fact become non-guaranteed. Although the second year of the contract was initially guaranteed, it was agreed that it would become non-guaranteed if his previous knee problems resurfaced. Once that happened, the second year could only become guaranteed again if Roy played more than 1,400 minutes in 2012/13 or if he was on the active list for 65+ games -- he failed to meet either benchmark.
Perhaps some specific wording in the contract raises questions, or perhaps there's some debate over whether Roy's knee issues this season were directly related to his previous injuries. Either way, I imagine the Wolves will do their best to ensure they're not on the hook for the $5.33MM owed to Roy next season, considering they reportedly explored buying him out or trading his contract earlier this year.
Roy, 28, has only appeared in five games for the Wolves since returning to the game following his 2011 retirement with the Trail Blazers.
The Trail Blazers and Timberwolves seem to share a link greater than just their placement together in the Northwest Division. They were at opposite ends of a tug-of-war over restricted free agent Nicolas Batum last summer, around the same time former Blazers star Brandon Roy came out of retirement to sign with the Wolves, a move that cost Portland owner Paul Allen $17MM in insurance money. Earlier this season they "amicably" resolved a dispute over a trade the two clubs made back in 2010. Both clubs are in the news again, with news involving Roy and former Blazer and current Wolf Chris Johnson. Here's what we know:
The Lakers announced yesterday that Metta World Peace underwent successful surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus, and will miss six weeks. Whether or not the Lakers make the playoffs, World Peace's season could be over, and Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News wondered yesterday if the veteran forward has played his last game as a Laker.
World Peace isn't necessarily in the final year of his contract, since he has a player option for next season. However, if he exercises that option, he becomes a prime candidate to be amnestied. If he declines the option, he'll hit unrestricted free agency. Either way, the man formerly known as Ron Artest may sign a new contract before he plays in his next NBA game.
A number of players are in the same situation as World Peace, with potential free agency looming and an injury keeping them off the court. Here are a few guys who we may not see play for their current teams again, and whose free agent stocks could be affected by their current injuries:
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Brandon Roy, who has missed most of the season after undergoing knee surgery, addressed media in Portland before the Wolves faced off against the Trail Blazers. Roy reflected on his five seasons in Portland as well as updating on the status of his rehab and the future of his career. Ben Golliver of BlazersEdge has a full transcript of Roy's comments.
On the status of his rehabilitation from knee surgery:
I'm doing good. I've been doing good for a few weeks now. Working without any setbacks. I'm getting closer to getting back out there on the court. I was talking to Kevin [Love] and Chase [Budinger] and those guys, once they're healthy, I'll be that much closer and we'll give ourselves a good look at what we could have been had we been healthy. Maybe it's just timing also.
On how many more years he plans to play:
I'm not sure. My body has a lot to say about that. At the end of the year, I'll do some reflecting on how this season went and if I want to continue. I made the commitment at the beginning of the year that I'm going to stick with this season no matter what through the ups and downs and at the end of the year I'll reflect on things and do I still want to go forward. I'm not going to make that decision now, I know maybe people want me to. I made a commitment and I'm going to stick it out.
Thoughts on Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard:
He's a good player. Being in Minnesota I don't get to watch as many Portland games, but the games I've watched, he's a really tough player. I didn't know he could shoot the ball that good. He's a really good three-pointer shooter. He's just tough on the court and he makes big shots, timely shots. He's going to be a special player in this league.
He's solid. I've never really been one to compare guys to myself but I see a lot of Chauncey Billups in him. Chauncey wasn't at that level so early but you could see a lot of similarities. He just comes down and makes timely baskets. Playing against guys like Chauncey, that's what they did. He's going to be a really good player in this league.
I never really do it. But people will sit around and watch games and go, 'man, if you guys could have stayed healthy,' and they will mention Greg, me and LaMarcus, we had a lot of young talented pieces. Some people say you guys could have been this, you could have been that. I'm the type where unless you work and actually get that, it's just a what if. If you think too hard on the what ifs, it takes too much credit from the teams that are actually going out and doing it.
The outlook for Brandon Roy hasn't been positive for a while, and a setback a few weeks ago as he recovers from knee surgery derailed his hopes of returning before the All-Star break. Today, Wolves coach Rick Adelman expressed pessimism that Roy will make it back this season at all, as Ray Richardson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press documents.
"If he does play, it will be a pleasant surprise," Adelman said. "I don't expect him at this point."
Roy has suggested he'll retire if he can't make it back on the court this year. Neither Richardson, writing in his report, or Adelman appeared to rule out a return this season, but the idea that Roy is finished has apparently led Minnesota's front office to pursue trades that would attract teams looking for an expiring contract. Roy signed a two-year, $10.4MM deal before the season, but because his knee trouble resurfaced, the second season will likely become non-guaranteed. Roy would have to play in either 65 games or reach 1,400 minutes this season to trigger a guarantee on next year, and both thresholds appear far out of his reach. He's appeared in only five games and played a total of 122 minutes this year.
The Wolves are also interested in a buyout for Roy at some point this season, an idea that's met resistance from Roy's financial adviser. Minnesota may make a stronger push for a buyout after the deadline if they're not able to include Roy in a trade.
Here's the latest on the Timberwolves from Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities....
According to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nuggets have rebuffed an offer from the Timberwolves that would have sent Brandon Roy and a first-round draft pick to Denver in exchange for center Timofey Mozgov.
Roy has been reportedly included in many of Minnesota's offers, with hopes that his contract (non-guaranteed for 2013-14) could serve as a selling point to teams looking for financial relief. According to a tweet by Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis, the offered pick would be from the Grizzlies (owed to Minnesota in this year's draft).
The Timberwolves aren't holding out hope that the 6'6" guard will ever be ready to play in the NBA again, and it is believed that any team interested in taking the former star understands that also. Wojnarowski says that GM David Kahn would be interested in negotiating a buyout, possibly after the trade deadline if Minnesota is unable to include him in a deal.
With the emergence of Kosta Koufos in Denver coupled with the fact that Mozgov is scheduled to become a restricted free agent in July, the Nuggets have been trying to find a suitable trade partner in order to avoid possibly having to match an expensive offer sheet for the Russian center.