Roy says retirement was never final in his mind

Associated Press Modified: July 31, 2012 at 5:48 pm •  Published: July 31, 2012
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Brandon Roy's retirement from the NBA last year wasn't intended as a final decision.

The Minnesota Timberwolves were eager to help him clarify his status.

"After a few months of sitting out, I decided, 'Hey, I don't want to stop playing basketball,'" Roy said Tuesday at a news conference at Target Center after signing a two-year, $10.4 million contract. "I wanted to continue going forward. It was never a situation where I said, 'I'm done forever.' It's just more of a pause."

The Portland Trail Blazers announced Roy's medical-related retirement right before the start of the lockout-shortened season last year. His knees, lacking cartilage after six operations, were bothering him too much to continue. Roy said Tuesday, though, that the team doctor advised him to quit. The Blazers used the amnesty clause to waive Roy and not count the remaining $63 million on his contract against their salary cap or luxury tax.

"It was never really officially my decision to retire," Roy said.

So here he is with the Wolves, at 6-foot-6 and age 28 ready to resume what was already an outstanding career before his knees began to break down.

Roy was on a playing-time limit — 22 minutes per game — during his last season with the Blazers, a restriction he said frustrated him badly. His 18-point fourth quarter in a Game 4 comeback win over the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs only boosted his confidence that he could still play at an elite level.

The Wolves not only were interested once he made it known he was considering a comeback, they promised him they'd take off the reins as long as he can prove his knees can handle it. Roy said his goal is to again become a 35-minute-per-game player, his career average.

That, combined with endorsements from friends of head coach Rick Adelman, familiarity with Adelman's assistants and a playoff-caliber core in Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and now Andrei Kirilenko, was enough to persuade Roy to pick the Wolves.

"It's not a situation where I wanted to be a 10th man. I want to be able to go out and work and be a big part of a team taking that next step, and I thought the pieces were right here," Roy said. "When they say, 'You know, 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 was saying, 'You can come in and earn as big of a role as you want.' So that was really important for me."

Roy worked out for two months last winter before deciding to try an increasingly popular but medically unproven procedure known as platelet-rich plasma therapy. It's basically an injection of a patient's own blood back into the body, to help heal degenerative joints. Kobe Bryant went to Germany before last season to have it done. Roy said it's allowed him to work out hard and feel no day-after discomfort.

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