Oden Possibly Returning, Interested in HEAT
By: Matt Pineda
According to FOX Sports’ Chris Tomasson, Greg Oden has reversed his decision to sit out the entire 2012-13 NBA season and is open to playing this year. Oden is still recovering from yet another knee surgery, and is said to not choose a playing destination until later in the fall.
Oden was a High School stand out at Lawrence North High School on the east side of Indianapolis, IN. After dominating there, he played one season at the Ohio State University where he led the Buckeyes to the National Championship game alongside fellow Lawrence North teammate Mike Conley, and Daequan Jones. Oden was the first selection of the 2007 NBA Draft with Kevin Durant following him.
But Oden’s NBA career has been repeatedly put on hold as he hasn’t stayed healthy. Oden, when healthy, is a dominating presence on the inside on defense and rebounding, and capable of being an effective low post scorer. Many have written off Oden’s career already and he seems to be one of the biggest #1 pick busts ever.
But, Oden is only 24 years old, and could still make his way to recovery. With the HEAT having made Eddy Curry a project this year, don’t doubt their interests in Oden. Mike Conley Sr, Oden’s agent, has said the HEAT have not been in contact with him or his agent, but has said that Oden would indeed be interested in playing for Miami if the situation arises when he’s ready to return.
All this is just talk as of now. As we know, Miami is only able to offer minimum salary if Oden is ready, unless Miller retires to injury then they would have a $2.9 million space available. The problem is, Oden would have to make a huge sacrifice. He hasn’t made the $100+ million like Ray and Rashard have in their careers. And there will be plenty of other suiters willing to give Oden a shot when he’s ready. It will be difficult, but are you really going to not give Pat Riley a chance to steal him?
What would a healthy Greg Oden offer the HEAT?
A healthy Greg Oden offers Miami nearly everything they want for a center. He is smart, tall, athletic, has good hands, can rebound and defend. The only thing that would lack would be the lateral movement required within Miami’s current defensive scheme. But Oden makes up for so many mistakes by others. Many of you haven’t seen or don’t remember the real Greg Oden – he is a monster. He changes the game defensively as much or more than Anthony Randolph did for Kentucky.
Oden wouldn’t be someone they relied on for heavy minutes. With the signings of Allen and Lewis, Spoelstra is aiming to go postion-less. He just wants basketball players. Bosh is willing to own the middle while Haslem, LeBron and now Lewis take the four. Oden would offer help to the likes of Dwight Howard, Roy Hibbert, Tyson Chandler, and maybe reaching the Finals against a Steve Nash led Lakers team with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Oden would be a welcomed addition, and would offer much more than what you saw any HEAT center offer this year.
The risk remains that he will never be healthy and it will become a wasted roster spot, and just eat up your medical expenses. But, with Miami’s roster at 13 solid players, the have a little room to play with, and would be worth the risk.
Can Pat Riley interest Oden into leaving millions on the table to join Wade, LeBron and Bosh in South Beach? We won’t know that answer for several months at the least, but it’s worth thinking about.