Let me be up front here, I have long feared how Roy-Centric this team was. It was great when we were rebuilding the franchise. He earned that huge contract. But the ultimate danger has come to fruition. We now have a Roy that will not be anywhere near 100% night in night out.
Other teams have made such arrangements work with players as talented as Roy, but those teams were often dominated with veterans that had developed their own identity as players. That has never happened with key members of the roster of the Blazers. Most of the key people on offense came up in a system of Roy dominated ball. It does not mean that they are not talented in and of themselves, they are, it just means they defer to him when he is on the floor. That is a big big problem if Roy is not near 100% most nights.
Aldridge becomes a pick and pop outlet guy (this even happened last season when Roy returned to an unsettling extent given Aldridge's overall performance last season) and Batum floats to a corner hoping for a pass. They are basically programmed to defer to Roy when he is on the court, heck McMillan brought them all up as professional ball players with that very mindset.
Personally, I always felt this approach left way to much of the other players talents to waste away, but Roy was good enough to make up for a lot of that wasted talent on most nights. Now, with Roy either needing to play limited minutes or missing lots of games due to tweaks and so forth, I am just not certain how the team can grow in this situation.
I know Roy does have a reputation for adapting to his injuries, but this team does not have a history of changing its behavior when Roy is on the floor. They have proven capable without him, but totally dependent on him when he is on the floor, even if he is only going at only 70 or 80%. Now a 70 or 80% Roy is better than a vast majority of the league, he would be an asset to many a team, but not as a player that everyone else simply defers to on the court.
Unfortunately, that is what happens on this team. Could that change? Possibly, but nothing I have seen gives me a reasonable hope of that.
There are of course practical reasons from a business perspective as well. If Roy ends up only being able to play 50 games a season or less then we are paying a guy $17 million a year, basically an un-tradable contract, it will be a weight around this teams shoulders for the next 4 seasons, the team will not be able to grow or develop with a part-time Roy.
I also happen to believe that amnestying Roy is the best thing FOR Roy. Given his salary here the team might be tempted to push him too much and burn him up by the end of this season or possibly the next and Roy will be forced to retire by injury. The more likely scenario, knowing Roy's character, is that he will feel he has to push himself that much more while he is here and end up with the same result. If he is playing for another team at a more reasonable contract that will reflect his physical ability to be on the court he does not face that particular risk. He will be able to play with greater longevity while still getting the money he is due for what he has done for the Blazers.
I appreciate everything Roy has done for this franchise. I really do, I just don't think keeping him on makes much sense for the Blazers or for him.