Matt Calkins: Fans willing to forget Roy’s woes

Commentary: Matt Calkins



When we lose our wallets, and have checked the same pant pocket twice, why must we always look there again an hour later? And when we get back together with our girlfriends after a four-month breakup, why don’t we think the same problems will resurface?

The reason is because there is no more liberal editor than the human mind. While absence may make the heart grow fonder — it makes the brain grow nuttier.

With Trail Blazers training camp beginning Friday, this principle is being wholeheartedly applied to Brandon Roy.

Seven months ago, the 27-year-old completed a season that, for so many reasons, he would like to forget. Fortunately for Roy, most fans seem to have already forgotten.

When it was reported at the end of November that Portland would likely use the Amnesty Clause to waive him and free up cap room, Blazermaniacs ripped team owner Paul Allen as though he were moving the franchise to Topeka.

Furthermore, when team president Larry Miller announced that the organization would not be using the Amnesty Clause on Roy, the overwhelming majority of Blazers supporters said they were “ecstatic and relieved” in a poll, in which the other options were “frustrated,” “ambivalent,” and “puzzled.”

Do people not remember that Roy failed to record so much as a field goal in three different games last year? Are they suddenly unaware that he shot 40 percent from the field and was 168th in the league in efficiency?

And perhaps most significantly — have they forgotten that his knee injury is destined to be chronic since meniscus doesn’t grow back?

Actually, in the most knowledgeable basketball city in the country, they probably do know all that. But people’s connection to Roy has long gone beyond heroics and highlight reels.

He was the guy who exemplified Portland’s shift from the Jail Blazers era, whose smile was as bright as his future, who provided access easier than a breakaway dunk. So naturally, the Blazers faithful asked: How could the team even consider parting ways with someone whose skill was matched only by his class.

However, what they didn’t ask is: Where the heck was that guy last year?

Three times last season, Roy sounded off on his team like he was auditioning for “The Real World.”

The first rant came in October, when he declared that he wanted “the ball a lot more” while complaining that point guard Andre Miller was robbing him of touches.

The second came two months later, after his knee problems were made clear, when he said he “wasn’t that slow until you put a guy who is kind of slow next to me,” again referring to Miller.

The third came after the second game of the playoffs of all places, when he expressed frustration over a reduced role and publicly revealed his disappointment that teammate Patty Mills was subbed in before him.

And yet, the Rose Garden crowd greeted him with a booming ovation when he stepped on the court for Game 3.

Talk about amnesty.

It’s not that Roy’s accomplishments should be forgotten or his personality dismissed. And it’s not as though he is undeserving of sympathy despite his $80 million contract.

Remember, this was a guy who strove to be the league’s best. It’s not farfetched to believe he’d take a digit or two off of his salary in exchange for a ring.

At the same time, it’s naive for people to think that last year’s drama was an anomaly. With Nate McMillan “leaning” toward reinserting Roy back into the lineup, it’s not unlikely that his minutes decline at the same pace as his knees, and that his retaliatory comments match his level of frustration.

But nobody wants to think about that right now. It’s the first day of camp and Blazers fans are teeming with optimism.

Just be careful, everyone.

Our minds may be our favorite editors — but they rarely produce true stories.

Matt Calkins cover the Trail Blazers for The Columbian. He can be contacted at 360-735-4528 or