According to reports, the Cleveland Cavaliers are set to offer the former number one overall pick, Greg Oden, a two year contract with a team option for a third. The former Portland Trail Blazer averaging 9.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in 82 career games. His career, which once had the highest of expectations, has been derailed by knee injury after injury. But due to several knee injuries, the Ohio State product has played 82 total games, the equivalent 82 games in five seasons since being drafted.
For Cleveland, Oden would be worth any risk he carries. The Cavaliers are a young team that is in need of frontcourt depth. At the center position, Anderson Varejao has been oft injured, while Tyler Zeller has yet to establish himself as a future starter in his rookie campaign. At power forward, Tristan Thompson has established himself as a starter, while recent acquisition Marresse Speights has proven to be a solid contributor from the bench. His contract, however, is up after next season, when he will be unrestricted free agent.
For Oden, Cleveland would be a logical fit. It would be an environment that would give him the opportunity to slowly work his way back, and not rush back like he has said he did before. If Oden were to sign with a team like the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics, he would be in a situation where he would likely need to play right away, or be lost in the flow of it all. In Miami, especially, I could easily see Oden being lost on the bench, and never getting a real chance to restart his NBA career.
One other reason Oden would be wise to choose Cleveland would be the medical staff in Cleveland, as well as the easy access to the top level medical care in Cleveland. The Cavaliers have already helped a top level center prospect return from serious injury, and that player was Zydrunas Ilgauskas. The Lithuanian suffered from chronic foot injuries once drafted, and there was a very good chance that he was never going to play again. But over time, Ilgauskas recovered and became on the best players in the history of the Cavaliers franchise. In Cleveland Oden, would get the chance to do the very same thing. He could take it slow, receive the proper medical care and possibly become the player everyone thought he could be.
One last aspect of Cleveland that could be replicated anywhere else is Kyrie Irving. The budding superstar is arguably the best young talent Oden could align himself with. Sure the Heat have LeBron James, but it is not certain that James will stay in Miami after next season. In Cleveland, Oden could align himself with one of the league’s premier talents for what Cleveland hopes in the long term? Along with the medical care, that would be hard to pass up.