By: Sam Ekstrom
David Kahn has been known of late for letting go of high draft picks. Tuesday he brought one back.
Brandon Roy, traded on Draft Night 2006 to the Portland Trail Blazers, was introduced to the media alongside Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn at Target Center Tuesday afternoon.
”I’m just thrilled that [Brandon] chose us, and not somebody else, to restart his career,” said Kahn.
“I think he’s going to help us in innumerable ways, not only on the basketball court, but in our locker room and off the court. We still have a very young team as you all know. His experience in our league, plus the person that he is---that kind of quality and character will really be a help to our organization.”
Roy was dealt to the Wolves’ Northwest Division rival in exchange for Randy Foye out of Villanova in 2006. While Foye struggled to find a niche with the Wolves, Roy went on to do great things in Portland, winning Rookie of the Year honors for the 2006-07 season. Foye was traded to Washington for the draft pick that landed Ricky Rubio.
For Roy, it feels good to finally be affiliated with the team whose hat is proudly displayed at his mother’s house next to her son’s draft night picture.
“It’s really exciting, and I’m just happy to be here and be part of an organization for a little longer than 30 minutes.”
Roy piqued in 2008-09 when he put up 22.6/5.1/4.7 with shooting splits of 48/38/82. Unfortunately, the next two seasons saw the ex-Washington Huskie deteriorate due to knee problems. Roy underwent multiple operations that depleted his knees of cartilage, including arthroscopic surgery. He retired during the 2011 offseason after a consultation with Portland’s medical staff.
However, a blood-spinning treatment at Regenokine in Los Angeles put the five-year veteran on track to return to the league. The treatment, also employed by the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, helped cut down on swelling and improved recovery time for Roy.
“I decided to work out for about two months before I would make my official decision to come back. After two months of pushing myself, my body felt really great and responded really well.”
“Now I can prepare and work extremely hard to get to a level that I want to be at.”
Once his mind was set on returning to the league, Roy reached out to several teams, including Minnesota. He said he was attracted to the talent the Wolves had in place, as well as highly-respected head coach Rick Adelman.
“This was a place that I really wanted to be a part of, not just with David, but with coach Adelman and just the pieces they have here. I wanted to be a part of a team where I could really assist and help take that next step.”
The Roy press conference continued a busy few days for GM Kahn. On Friday, Kahn finalized a trade of Wesley Johnson to the Phoenix Suns that cleared up cap space. The extra money went to signing Russian forward Andrei Kirilenko, another player who didn’t set foot on an NBA court last season. Kirilenko signed for two years, $20 million, while Roy signed for about half that---two years, $10.4 million.
Kahn is approaching the Roy acquisition with an open mind, not wanting to put too many limits on the three-time All Star.
“The last thing we would do is put some artificial constraints on him before he even showed up, like minutes and what he can and can’t do. I said to him, ‘It would seem to me that you just want what you’re capable of doing. You would like to earn your minutes. If you’re capable of starting, you’ll start. If you’re not capable of starting, you’ll come off the bench.’… I think that was refreshing for him to hear.”
Roy has no doubts that he can handle playing at a high level for an extended period of time. He explained that he’s more aware than ever about taking measures for injury prevention.
“I don’t question whether I can go through an 82-game grind… I’m anticipating just playing with no restrictions. Once I start playing I don’t think there will be a question.”
The hope is that Roy will be a lift at shooting guard for a team that has struggled mightily at that position in the recent past. Luke Ridnour played the most at the two-spot last season, averaging 12.1 PPG. Roy hopes to bring his “crafty” skill-set with him to Target Center.
“There’s no limitations on moves I can make. I may not jump as high, but physically I can still make all the same plays, all the same moves, and finish at the rim.”
The Wolves begin the regular season November 2nd against Sacramento. For fans of the team, it will be a debut six years in the making.