Center Greg Oden has a strong idea of who he wants to play for. Next season.
The 25-year-old reportedly has eyes for several NBA clubs, according to Fox Sports Florida, who spoke to Oden’s agent Wednesday.
Mike Conley Sr., Oden’s agent and father to Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley Jr., said he met with Miami Heat president Pat Riley about the team’s final open roster spot. The Heat had one spot left between the Feb. 21 trade deadline and this past Saturday.
Miami ultimately picked up veteran Juwan Howard, with both Oden and the Heat reportedly deciding it's best to talk about joining forces next season.
Many reports have said if Oden signed with any team this year he would not play until the 2013-14 season.
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Despite their incredible 15-game winning streak, Miami is dead last in the NBA in rebounds per game, and have lacked for a true center since signing LeBron James and Chris Bosh, along with re-signing Dwyane Wade, to max-level contracts in 2010.
Out of Ohio State, the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft is currently rehabbing after his third micro-fracture surgery, and hasn’t taken the court in the NBA since 2010.
The seven-foot Ohio native is also interested in teaming up with the San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Bobcats, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to the report.
Charlotte and Cleveland are both in desperate need of a strong presence in the paint. Pairing Oden with emerging Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving could be a tempting proposition for Cleveland, who has plenty of cap space. However, Oden can’t command that strong a premium considering his long injury history.
Charlotte is currently ranked 24th in rebounding and 28th in overall defense, and starting center Bismack Biyombo stands at 6-foot-9.
The obvious attraction to the Spurs stems from their winning culture and the ideal tutelage of future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan and head coach Gregg Popovich. San Antonio also has extensive experience pairing skilled big men. Duncan and Hall of Famer David Robinson formed a daunting frontline that captured two championships.
In 82 career games, all with the Portland Trail Blazers, Oden has career averages of 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.