Blazers were aware of Roy’s knee issues when they signed him to a max contract

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Former GM Kevin Pritchard went on John Canzano’s radio show in Portland to talk about his time and experience with the Blazers before he was (randomly) fired, and his thoughts on the league going forward. During the interview, Pritchard left an interesting bit of information out there regarding the decision to grant Brandon Roy his max contract in 2009.

Pritchard told listeners that the Blazers were aware of Roy’s knee issues (read: meniscus=over, long-term implications= very yes) prior to the signing and elected to grant Roy the extension anyway.

The decision seems curious at this point, because Roy has missed so much time and had surgery on his knees now, and there have been questions about whether Roy will still be able to play even five years down the line. But if we back up to 2009, it seems less crazy. Roy had just come off his best season in 2008-2009, and looked every bit the franchise star.

Pritchard said part of the decision to re-sign Roy was based off of his free-agent eligibility the following year. If Roy had stayed healthy in 09-10, he would have garnered a longer-term contract for the max, so in reality, the Blazers were getting a deal there. Second, Pritchard revealed that the portion of Roy’s contract that isn’t guaranteed was used to purchase a secondary insurance option, which covers Roy in entirety. As such, that mitigates the financial impact of having to pay Roy that contract, though the money counts against the cap all the same.

There’s been talk that the Blazers were aware of Roy’s knee situation at the draft. They’ve simply always believed that Roy could overcome the problems. But as this year showed, Roy can overcome them for short stints, but eventually the reality sets back in that Roy will most likely never be the same player again. If the new CBA (whenever that happens) alters contracts or grants an amnesty clause, the Blazers may get out from under it. But calculated risk or not, the decision to give Roy that contract remains a vulture on their shoulder going forward.