PORTLAND – Portland Trail Blazers All-Star guard Brandon Roy told the team that he is retiring because of ongoing difficulty with his knees.
Portland players were informed of Roy’s decision to seek medical retirement on Friday before the first practice of training camp.
Roy, a five-year veteran who helped the team shed its “Jail Blazers” reputation, has been dogged by knee injuries and surgeries. He has said he lacks cartilage between the bones in both knees.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said Roy had not filed the retirement paperwork with the league.
Roy did not report to the Blazers’ practice facility on Friday and his agent did not respond to a request for comment on any retirement plans, first reported by ESPN.com early Friday.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Blazers forward Nicolas Batum said. “I still can’t believe it.”
The reports contradicted statements made on Monday during a news conference with Blazers president Larry Miller, coach Nate McMillan and acting general manager Chad Buchanan. Roy had met with team officials earlier that day and said he felt good and was ready to help the team in any way he could.
But during a medical evaluation on Thursday it became apparent that Roy’s knees were not going to be able to handle another season.
“It’s a tough situation,” Blazers center Marcus Camby said. “People will say ‘Hey, he’ll get his money.’ But Brandon’s a competitor.”
Former Blazer Martell Webster, now with the Minnesota Timberwolves, went to Twitter to say: “B Roy the league just lost a legend. I Was looking forward to watching for another 10 years. You will be missed, I’m calling a comeback 2014.”
There were earlier rumors the Blazers might try to use the league’s new amnesty clause on Roy, who signed a five-year maximum contract with the team in 2009.
The clause would allow the team to waive Roy without having his salary count against the salary cap and luxury tax.
If Roy, 27, files for medical retirement, insurance would likely take care of his salary in coming years. His salary would not count against the cap after one year.
Roy sat for stretches of last season because of his knees. After arthroscopic surgery last January, he was limited off the bench. He finished the season with an average of 12.2 points, a career low, in 47 games.
Roy has averaged 19 points, 4.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds for his career.
The sixth overall pick in the 2006 draft out of the University of Washington, Roy was acquired by the Blazers in a draft-day trade.
He was picked as the league’s Rookie of the Year his first season and earned spots on the All-Star team the next three seasons.
Nicknamed “The Natural” by the team’s broadcasters, Roy has been the affable face of the franchise and has endeared himself to Portland fans.
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