One of the most coveted free agents this offseason is a player who hasn’t played in almost four years in an NBA game. And yet Greg Oden is getting plenty of attention, especially from the NBA champions Miami Heat, who seem closer than the rest of the chasing pack to land the big man.
Now that they’ve taken care of their luxury tax problems , the Heat can try and add a few more players to their roster, which they aren’t trying to overhaul, only tweak a little bit. Bringing in a solid center, even if he is a huge injury risk, on a minimum salary, is something that can certainly help them solve something that has troubled this team for the last couple of seasons if not more.
The Heat are meeting with Oden again, while Pat Riley is trying to smooth over Mike Conley senior, Oden’s agent. The Pelicans, Spurs and the Sacramento Kings are also in the mix, but it’s pretty easy to see from the interactions going back and forth that the Miami Heat, who have been into Oden for a few months now, are the closest team to getting his signature.
Oden himself just wants to play, and for now is checking out what the best situation might be for him. The Kings and the Pelicans are trying to play the no-pressure angle, but with salary being a low one on all four teams, why not play for a team that already has a set rotation and isn’t going to force him into anything too demanding, while playing for the chance to win an NBA title?
Those things can’t be offered by the Kings or the Pelicans, who are undergoing relatively drastic changes this offseason. For the Spurs and the Heat, Oden will start out as far from a meaningful player on teams that don’t need to make too many changes from what took them to the NBA finals last season, and give him a lot more time and patience to find his way back into the league.