One micro-fracture surgery is usually enough to scare most teams off, let alone three over the course of six years. But former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden is reportedly not short of suitors as he preps for his latest comeback.
The 25-year-old worked out for several teams in Indianapolis earlier this week. Miami, San Antonio, New Orleans, Dallas, Atlanta, and Sacramento have all scouted Oden, however the Mavericks did not have a representative during the workout in Indianapolis, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.
Stein broke down the next step in the courtship of Oden on Twitter Sunday: “Teams will make formal offers early this week in terms of money & medical care. Then Oden should make choice by week’s end.”
Furthermore, Oden reportedly looked “lean” and moved “quite well” during his workout.
That’s good news for both Oden and the team that happens to land him. Despite his injury history, Oden's seven-foot stature puts him in line for a solid, lucrative contract. Still most teams will probably want a clause included in his deal that protects them should Oden suffer another injury.
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Whoever signs him will certainly get a defensive-minded center who will be happy just to play on an NBA court for the first time in three years.
Since he last played for the Portland Trail Blazers in 2010, Oden has battled depression and reportedly an alcohol problem. Now he’s back in NBA shape and could certainly help Miami with perhaps their only glaring need.
The Heat were last in the league in rebounding, and haven’t had a true center on the roster for the last several seasons. Two titles in three years have proven Miami didn’t need a center, but also allowing Oden to join another contender like San Antonio certainly wouldn’t help their efforts for a three-peat. Cap-strapped Miami can't offer him a high-paying deal, but can offer the best chance to win a title.
The Spurs are notorious for working any willing player into their rotation, and have also found ways to save center Tim Duncan’s legs for the playoffs. Oden could fit in immediately and receive easy pass after easy pass from point guard Tony Parker.
If Oden intends to play starters minutes, a stay with Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas, or Sacramento would be a better fit.
Each team is in the process of rebuilding, though the Pelicans made several moves this postseason that could catapult them into the top half of the Western Conference next season. Oden may also have less pressure to perform with New Orleans placing their future in young big man Anthony Davis.
Even with a limited sample size, Oden’s extended game metrics look far better than his career averages. Per 36 minutes he’s posted 15.3 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks over the course of 82 career games.