There is a lot of optimism surrounding the Minnesota Timberwolves as the 2012-2013 season nears due to the multiple additions that were made this offseason in an attempt to end the franchise’s playoff drought. For the first time since Kevin Garnett was traded prior to the 2007-2008 season, the Timberwolves look likely to get some national attention as well.
Perhaps none of the Timberwolves’ new additions will be watched as closely as guard Brandon Roy. Roy retired prior to last season due to chronic knee issues that limited him to 47 games during the 2010-2011 season and he also set a career-low by averaging 12.2 points per game that season. The Portland Trailblazers ultimately chose to use the amnesty clause and waive him, but that was strictly a financial move for that franchise since Roy was going to retire anyway. But rumors surfaced in the spring that he was working out in the hopes of returning to the NBA, with multiple teams reported to have some level of interest in signing him.
Roy ultimately chose to sign a two-year, $10.4 million deal with the Timberwolves at the end of July, which is probably the most lucrative offer he received due to his injury concerns. The contract does have some protection for the team for the 2013-2014 season if Roy’s health becomes a concern during the coming season, so that season’s $5.3 million salary is not fully guaranteed at this point.
Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman has already said the team will be cautious with Roy, and further reports suggest the two will work together together to manage Roy’s workload to try to enable him to be the most effective. Roy’s minutes may be limited early in the season for sure and that would seem to be a good plan for the entire season regardless of how he feels or the team’s place in the standings. Roy may start a lot of games, but he should also be on the court in critical situations at the end of games.
I predict 20-25 minutes per game for Roy if he stays healthy, which should allow him to make it through all 82 regular season games and be ready to go if Minnesota makes the playoffs. He should not be expected to play at the All-Star level he did with Portland for most of his career there, but Roy will be an important piece of the puzzle this season for the Timberwolves.