Goodbye, Brandon Roy
We pretty much knew this was coming. Brandon Roy was waived by the Timberwolves. As had been widely reported, the second year of his contract was non-guaranteed. Therefore, the team chose to waive him and his $5.3 Million remaining on his deal. I’m not the right person to wax poetic on what a great player B-Roy was in Portland. I’m sure plenty of Blazers writers have already done that. His brief, somewhat-awkward T-Wolves tenure was recapped nicely by Mark Remme.
I do think it’s worth pointing out what the decision to waive Roy could mean, in a bigger picture sense. The Wolves could’ve held on to him as a trade chip. A non-guaranteed contract would have value to teams as a salary-cutting tool. But in any deal where the Wolves sent out Roy to bring in somebody else, they’d essentially be adding salary of their own. This is rife with assumptions and speculation but I take this move as a signal — however slight — that the new management is operating under a fixed budget; probably one set below the luxury tax line. I also take the move to signal a desire to retain the big free agents, Nikola Pekovic and Chase Budinger. Again, cutting Roy lowers the payroll and increases cap space and room below the tax line. Don’t be surprised if it’s not the only move in this direction.
Jaw Surgery for Derrick Williams
Sid Hartman reported that Derrick Williams is (or, now, perhaps has) undergoing jaw surgery. Apparently Kevin Love had the same thing in 2011. According to Sid, he’ll be out 5 to 6 weeks. I had this surgery done after high school graduation, and it isn’t fun. Your face swells up, your jaw is wired shut for at least a week, and exercise is out of the question. Love picked a good time to do it, with the inevitable lockout giving him all kinds of time to get back in shape. The biggest side effect is losing weight from the liquid/soft-foods diet. In Love’s case, maybe that was part of the reason he looked so lean in 2011-12? Williams will have plenty of time to get ready for the season, but he won’t be getting any work done for the next month.
Steph Curry Awesomeness & What Could Have Been (Or maybe not…)
Golden State guard Steph Curry has been the most exciting — if not valuable — playoffs performer, to date. Every three-point barrage seems to remind Wolves fans that we could’ve drafted him instead of Jonny Flynn. The idea goes that Curry would make for a great backcourt partner with Ricky Rubio, since he shoots so well and Ricky is so great at passing it to open shooters. It isn’t quite that simple though. I wrote about this already in an exchange with Eric in Madison in this comments section, but it bears repeating: A huge reason why Steph Curry is so great is because he can make three-pointers off the dribble. It stands to reason that he’d make less of an impact if moved entirely off the ball. And, if you’ve ever watched Ricky Rubio try to catch and shoot, I think YOU ALREADY KNOW that Ricky would be the guard handling the ball in this hypothetical backcourt. This jacked-up version of Curry that we’ve seen in the playoffs is even more ball dominant than the regular version. Zach Lowe does a great job of describing it here with the benefit of Golden State’s SportVu data. (By the way, the league should buy that technology and normalize it and make it publicly available. They’ve done a great job with the new kick-ass stats page on nba.com. No need to stop now!)