Roy Excited to Resume Career in Minnesota
After retiring last December and sitting out the 2011-12 season, former All-Star shooting guard Brandon Roy is back. The 28-year-old will play for the Minnesota Timberwolves next season after inking a two-year deal with the team earlier this month, and he can’t wait to continue his NBA career.
“I’m excited to be back in the NBA and be a part of this organization,” Roy said during his introductory press conference on Tuesday. “It was a tough season to sit out but after thinking about it, I wanted to start preparing myself to make a comeback. I didn’t want it to be an overnight decision so I decided to start working 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. It responded really well.”
Roy met with a number of teams in Seattle, and ultimately narrowed down his list to the Timberwolves and the Golden State Warriors. After much deliberation, he decided to sign with Minnesota.
“I wanted to be a part of a team that was good and that I could step in and help them take that next step,” Roy said. “It’s not a situation where I want to be a tenth man. I want to be able to go out and work and be a big part of the team taking the next step. I thought the pieces are right here. The pieces are there, you can tell they want to go forward with this team, continue to improve it and I would love to be a part of that improvement.
“It was a weird process. I never really said ‘I’m coming back.’ It was, ‘I’m thinking about coming back’ just to kind of put feelers out there to see what teams were really excited and believed in me. Minnesota was that team, along with some other ones. They continued to call and watch me workout. When they said, ‘Hey Brandon, the sky’s the limit here,’ that really made me feel good. I thought some teams maybe wanted me to play a small role, but Minnesota said you can come in and earn as big of a role as you want. That was really important for me.”
Nobody is sure what to expect from Roy after his year-long hiatus. However, he has high expectations for himself entering the season and he believes he can still play at a high level.
“That’s the goal,” Roy said when asked if he can still be a great player. “That’s the only reason I’m coming back. I told David (Kahn) when we met I wouldn’t be coming back if I didn’t think I couldn’t reach a high level of basketball. You say great, I say high level. I want to play at a high level. Right now, my body is giving me all signs that I can do that.”
Roy doesn’t believe his minutes need to be limited either. He hopes to start and play most of each game.
“I would still love to be around that 35-minute mark,” Roy said. “It’s whatever the team needs. I don’t want those situations where coach has to say, ‘We’re in a tough game, but you’re at your minute limit.’ That was something I had to deal with in my last season in Portland. That was really hard. Physically, I feel good. I want to play as much as possible, but at the same time be smart because it’s a long season and we want to be at our best down the stretch.”
After acquiring Roy as well as forwards Andrei Kirilenko, Chase Budinger and several other veterans, it’s clear that the Timberwolves are determined to make a playoff push this season. Roy wouldn’t guarantee that Minnesota would make the playoffs, but he was optimistic about the team’s chances.
“I don’t want to come out and put that pressure on the team,” Roy said. “We have a lot of really nice pieces. The first step is to get everybody here and start to build that chemistry. (Kevin) Love is with the USA team, he’s focused on that. (Ricky) Rubio, (Andrei) Kirilenko is doing the same thing with his team. We want to get guys in early to start building that chemistry. I feel like with the pieces we have, we can definitely take that next step to getting into the playoffs. We want to work to that goal, we don’t want to talk about it. We want to work and prove it on the floor.”
It’s rare for a player to come out of retirement less than one year after deciding to walk away from the game.. However, the circumstances surrounding Roy’s retirement were always odd and he says the choice wasn’t entirely his.
“It never really was officially my decision to retire,” Roy said. “With the process in Portland, I met with the team doctor, we talked for awhile. We have a really, really good relationship. He’s a guy that’s been working with me for five years with my knees. It was a situation where I went in for the physical, and he thought it would be in my best interest to stop playing basketball because of my knees. We pretty much left it up to the team to decide if they wanted to pursue the medical retirement route.
“After a week, they decided to use the amnesty. For me, it was never that I was retired. My knees were a situation that I was going to have to think about if I wanted to continue playing. After a few months of sitting out, I decided, ‘Hey, I don’t want to stop playing basketball.’ It’s something I want to continue going forward with. It’s never a situation where I said, ‘I’m done forever.’ It was more of a pause.”
Now, he’s hitting the resume button and all eyes will be on Roy to see what he has left.