Surprisingly, no words were spoken after I watched Brandon Roy rip out the heart of Dallas back in Game 4 of the Trail Blazers first round series with the Mavericks in 2011.
I shook my head, I think punched a pillow and went to bed. It was a soul crushing performance that almost severely altered the course of history for the Dallas Mavericks (had Dallas dropped the next two games, which was a very real possibility, the Dirk-era Mavericks would have most likely been torn to shreds.)
Thankfully, that Game 4 is just a minor footnote in the Mavericks championship run. And now the hero (or villain) in that game could very well end up in Dallas next year.
Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Roy intends to make a comeback after retiring before last season and the Mavericks, Bulls, Timberwolves and Pacers are all interested. Roy apparently had a procedure very similar to the one Kobe Bryant had in Germany last summer, although Zach Lowe of SI.com isn't sure how much that will actually help with the fact that Roy has absolutely no meniscus cartilage in either of his knees.
If Roy can be even half of himself before his injuries took control of his career, that will be a huge improvement for the Mavericks backcourt. Roy was turning into one of the top two or three two-guards in the league, displaying numbers that would make Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade blush.
It also helps that the Mavericks have one of the best training staffs in the entire NBA. Dallas has taken on oft-injured players and turned them into productive players (Tyson Chandler, Brandan Wright, Josh Howard to name a few) while also extending the careers of many of their 30+ aged veterans. Their handling of Jason Kidd's minutes and playing time is a prime example.
So, at the right price, there's no doubt Roy is worth more than just a look for Dallas. But as Lowe mentions, the money numbers could get tricky:
Dallas has giant holes in the backcourt with Delonte West, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry all set to enter free agency, but their first priority appears to be getting far enough under the cap to make a realistic run at Deron Williams. Doing that will require renouncing their rights to all three of those aforementioned guards, using the amnesty provision on Brendan Haywood, buying out Lamar Odom for the cool price of $2.4 million (or, better yet, dealing Odom to a team that will do so) and finding another way to clear $1.5 million or so in order to make Williams a true max offer. The math is very, very tight for Dallas, even assuming all of the above, plus a move to buy Vince Carter out for $2 million instead of keeping him for his full $3 million salary.
Going this route would leave the Mavs with either the veteran's minimum or the so-called "room" exception, worth $2.5 million, for teams that go under the cap and then spend up to it.
So Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson will have to get creative and hope a team with lots of cash to spend and equally large back court holes (Indiana, Minnesota) don't overreach with their bid. But the possibility is intriguing. Roy produced slightly below average for his position last year and if this treatment improves his play just marginally, Roy will be an immediate upgrade at the two-spot for Dallas. Combined with potentially Deron Williams and not as much pressure to play heavy minutes and dominate the ball (also, the Mavericks might manage minutes better than any other team in the league) the possibilities are dreamy.
PS, here's a reminder of what Roy is capable of: