The Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat seem to be the only two teams in the race for former Ohio State center Greg Oden. According to The Plain Dealer, Oden’s agent, Mike Conley Sr., says that the former Ohio State star would love to stay instate and play for the Cavaliers. This could be a best-case scenario for both parties, as Oden is trying to rebuild his resume after a first failed attempt at playing in the NBA – and Cleveland is a good team to find minutes to achieve that goal.
Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports reported on Tuesday that the leaders in the Oden sweepstakes – if that’s what you want to deem it – are the Cavaliers and Heat. His last, and also third, microfracture knee surgery was in February 2012, and he hasn’t played in the NBA since December of 2009. According to the Associated Press, the Cavaliers are considering signing Oden, but it all depends on the health of the troubled center.
Grantland writer Mark Titus had a good one-on-one interview experience with Oden, who averaged 15.7 point, 9.6 rebounds and 3.3 blocks, while shooting 61.6 percent from the field in one season as a Buckeye. There has always been controversy surrounding the seven footer, such as leaked naked pictures, three microfracture surgeries – totaling 338 missed games – an injured wrist, problems with alcohol and an untrustworthy medical staff.
Oden was picked No. 1 overall in the 2007 draft over Kevin Durant, but has not at all panned out in the NBA. In two seasons and 82 games with the Portland Trial Blazers, Oden averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. The pressure of always being compared to Durant and the eagerness people displayed when rushing him back from a surgery make these numbers look insignificant. After not being able to recover fully from rehab due to coming back too soon from surgery, Oden’s NBA career stalled on March 15, 2012 after the Trail Blazers released him. He decided to move back to Columbus for rehab on his knee and to work at a degree at Ohio State, but not attempt an NBA comeback until the end of the 2012-13 season. It seems that he is early on his projection, as he should be signing with a team any day now.
Going to the Cavaliers would make sense if Oden wants to have the best chance to revitalize his career, but if he wants to compete for a championship and possibly get lost in the star-studded Heat roster, than there’s always the latter option as well. Even though the addition of Marreese Speights added much needed depth to Cleveland’s frountcourt, having another big man like Oden on the bench could give starters Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller more rest and would keep Walton from filling in for the big man role from time to time. Cleveland did move power forward Kevin Jones to Canton again. That is a tactic that they used when dealing with the Memphis Grizzlies to free up room on the roster. Jones being sent down could mean that the Cavs are about to deal once again or sign a free agent such as Oden. We will keep you updated as much as possible as more information is made available to us at Right Down Euclid.