Posted Oct 13 2009 11:29AM
"Maybe," Brandon Roy said, "I'll just send them something saying, 'I appreciate you guys considering me and I would like to be a part of it.' "
The Trail Blazers All-Star guard, once among the logical additions to the next Dream Team, has increasingly distanced himself from consideration with a lack of communication that threatens a potential roster spot for the 2010 world championships in Turkey and the 2012 Olympics in London, people close to the situation report.
Roy is the first to say he needs to reach out to USA Basketball officials to let them know he is interested in playing -- even if that message is accompanied by the potential deal-breaker that he won't commit to tournaments so far in the future. That's how tenuous the surprising disconnect has become: He can easily move back into prime consideration with as little as a conversation, but being left out becomes an increasing possibility with each month that passes without contact and now there is the chance Roy won't sign up anyway because of the time involved.
Roy declined invitations to join the Select Team, the feeder club of young NBA players, the last two summers, opting to rest a knee injury in 2008 rather than practice against the Beijing-bound Dream Team and in '09 preferring to focus on a contract extension instead of participating in a mini-camp.
When he did not attend this offseason, if only to watch or attend meetings to be involved with the program without risking injury, it struck a particularly bad chord with the program. When he did not express a desire in the ensuing months to still be considered for a future role, it officially became an issue for Roy to fix.
"It's unfortunate Brandon Roy has not been able to participate because of a series of injuries, contract issues, whatever," a USA Basketball insider said. "But it's difficult to break in unless there's communication and a level of interest."
"It's on me," Roy said in response. "I don't blame them at all. I think it's something I have to at least call and say that whenever the next team event is, I want to be there. I think that's what they want to see out of me. I totally understand and I agree with what they're saying. I have to kind of take that next step to show them I want to be a part of the team."
Or at least that maybe he does. While saying he would love to be part of the next Dream Team, Roy is hesitant to make the long-term commitment USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski want from players heading to 2010 and beyond.
"It's something that I would like to do," Roy said. "It's hard for me to commit early to it because I want to make sure my body is healthy enough to go through it. I've had a number of injuries throughout my early career. My biggest focus is being 100 percent going into my regular season. The hardest part about that is you have to commit so early and it'd be hard for me to commit a year in advance. I want to make sure I'm healthy enough to go out there and perform at that level. If I'm not, I don't want to tell them 'Yeah' and then 'No.' It's a working relationship. But, yeah, every kid wants to play in the Olympics and represent his country."
The uncertainty is all the more noteworthy because he would ordinarily be an ideal candidate as the defending Olympic gold medalists will likely replace at least two members of the backcourt, Jason Kidd and Michael Redd. Roy is versatile enough to have grown into one of the league's rising stars while playing shooting guard and point guard for the Trail Blazers, he is just 25 and therefore could be part of the Dream Team wave beyond 2012, and he has the high character USA Basketball wants in its NBA ambassadors to the world.
"It's just been a number of things going on with him," said Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan, also a Team USA assistant. "It was his knee one year where he had surgery. Then, this year it was a contract situation where he couldn't go because he was negotiating a contract. The timing has been bad for Brandon to get with the Olympic team. But I know they like him and would love to have him. I don't think they totally scratched him off."
They definitely have not.
The longer it goes, though, the more Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and O.J. Mayo have a chance to impress Colangelo and Krzyzewski as young rising-star guards who show for the mini-camp just after summer league. The harder Roy declines to commit a year or so ahead of time, the more the distance grows.
"But," he said, "I definitely appreciate them even considering me to be on the team."
Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.
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