Life Without Brandon Roy?

Dave,

If the reports about Brandon Roy being an amnesty clause victim are true what's your take?  It will be a sad day for me.

I have such mixed feelings about this.  I understand in a cold, logical sense why this needs to happen.  Max contracts are the kiss of death under this new system unless that guy is a bona fide superstar.  Old Brandon Roy was a bona fide superstar.  New Brandon Roy?  Not so much.  The opportunity cost for the Blazers in keeping Roy will be steep...not so much because of the cap but because his numbers would make acquiring new talent expensive under the luxury tax provisions.  The left side of my brain understands that this is the most likely move, maybe the only move.

That said, I don't know about you but my heart is crying over this.  Roy symbolized so much for this team in his short tenure.  He was the embodiment of the 2006 resurrection.  He was the face of the post-Jailblazer renewal.  He was the hope of a new generation, not just for decency but for greatness.  The game-winner against Houston, the quarter against Dallas, the performances against Phoenix...these are historical events every bit as memorable as those provided by Drexler, Porter, and Lucas.  When's the last time you heard opponents scream about a Blazer, "Keep the ball away from him!!!" in last-second situations?  Roy made big shots seem like sure things.  He's been easy to like, easy to root for.  What more could you possibly have asked from a young player?

To have his Portland tenure, and quite possibly the most productive part of his career, cut short at 27 is a shame.  If he were healthy we'd be talking about the potential for titles in the Rose City.  His absence, coupled with harsh fiscal realities, will probably lead to the next round of rebuilding talk.  The distance between Points A and B there is vast.  So many dreams were wrapped up in him as the figurehead of this new generation.  Losing him is like being left at the altar.  It's not even always the bridesmaid and never the bride.  It's like getting fitted for a bridal gown and now they won't even let you in the church.  I'm no neophyte.  After the letdown of the 1991 Western Conference Finals I knew I'd never cry over this team again except tears of joy if they won a championship.  But if I sat down and really thought about the difference between how I felt in 2007 and how I feel upon hearing these reports, I think I'd come close.  At the very least I can say that if I ever do get to shed tears over a title, part of the emotion flowing out will be the release of sadness that the Roy-Aldridge-Oden edition of the Blazers never got the chance.

Sometimes, though, you have to do things you don't want to do.  Holding on past the point of good returns only makes everybody bitter.  If the Blazers have determined that said point is here, I can't argue.  That doesn't mean I have to celebrate it.  I'll surely run into the arms of Aldridge, Matthews, Wallace, Batum, et al this winter trying to find comfort.  Somehow I doubt it will be quite the same though.

--Dave (blazersub@gmail.com)

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