Portland's Roy, Aldridge Seek Team USA Berths
Portland guard Brandon Roy is feeling patriotic. And he's feeling he might have let down USA Basketball officials last summer.
So Roy is planning to reach out to USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo about wanting to play for Team USA in next summer's World Championships in Turkey.
"I didn't show up for the camp last summer, and they felt like maybe I didn't want to be a part of it,'' Roy said in an interview with FanHouse about missing last July's USA Basketball minicamp in Las Vegas for young players while negotiating a maximum contract extension that actually isn't fully guaranteed (more on that later). "So I told them, 'Look, I'll reach out this time to you guys.' ... I want to be a part of it and whatever I can do, I'll be willing to.''
Roy is planning to have his agent, Bob Myers, set up a meeting. Colangelo recently told FanHouse he's keeping an eye on Roy as a possible member of the team.
"I want to speak to (Colangelo) myself so he knew where I'm coming from,'' Roy, whose August 2008 surgery on his left knee also factored into not attending the minicamp. "I was going through my contract (extension last summer) and I didn't want to play and risk anything while I'm in the middle of a negotiation. So I said, 'Can I hold off?' (USA Basketball officials) were somewhat fine but I could tell they wanted me to be there.''
Also wanting to play in Turkey is Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Trail Blazers center Greg Oden felt the same way, but he's obviously out after being lost Saturday for the season due to a knee injury.
"I really would want to play,'' said Aldridge, who also pulled out of last summer's minicamp. "I think that is one of the biggest honors there is. Of course I really want to play. I think I bring a solid power forward that can defend and that can play. I think that's what they need. Guys that play hard and are going to go out there and play right away.'''
Aldridge also negotiated a contract extension during the offseason, getting a five-year, $65 million that kicks in next season. Roy's new deal is five years for the maximum and also begins next season. Next year's salary-cap numbers aren't yet known, but Roy's deal should be worth in excess of $80 million.
Interestingly, it's not fully guaranteed. According to NBA salary documents, the fifth year is only 75 percent guaranteed at this point. But there are many provisions that can fully guarantee the contract for 2014-15, including Roy merely playing in 55 games in 2013-14.
Roy said Trail Blazers officials had some concern over his knee due to the August 2008 surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Roy said he agreed last August to the extension not being fully guaranteed out of consideration to the Trail Blazers.
"They were concerned,'' said Roy, who said his knee is fine. "I understood where it was coming from. I wanted to meet them halfway and I wanted to be here. Whatever it takes to get it done.''
Roy, 25, agreed it's a bit unusual for such a young player to sign a contract for maximum dollars and maximum years that is not fully guaranteed.
"Yeah, I thought it was,'' said Roy, who returned from his knee trouble to average a career-high 22.6 points last season, although his average has dropped to 20.6 this season entering Monday. "But we have a great owner (Paul Allen) and he cares about the team. And that was my way of showing that, if I can't play, I'm willing to give up this so it wasn't that bad of a deal.''
Even if the Trail Blazers didn't pay Roy's entire salary in 2014-15, it's not as if they would save a ton of money. If Roy were due $20 million then and only 75 percent paid out, Portland would save just $5 million -- although it could be $10 million when one considers a possible luxury tax.
Also, there's a good chance 2014-15 will become fully guaranteed for Roy well before that season begins. In addition to logging 55 games in 2013-14, the ways Roy can get that season fully guaranteed include proper insurance being secured by the Trail Blazers; Portland winning the NBA title by then; Roy being selected an All-Star three times between the 2011 and 2014 seasons; or the Trail Blazers making the playoffs in 2013-14 and appearing in 80 percent of the postseason games.
"There's a lot of things (to fully guarantee it),'' Roy said. "I wasn't concerned about it. I felt great last year (following knee surgery).''
Roy played well enough to make his second straight All-Star Game. Whether Team USA is his next step remains to be seen.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at fanhouse.com or on Twitter @christomasson.