For Greg Oden, it seems that returning to the NBA isn’t only about just finding someone willing to take him. If there’s such a huge interest in him, coming from the New Orleans Pelicans, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings, he’s trying to make the most out of it, and seems like the Pelicans are the team willing to give him more money and more years on the contract they’re offering.
There hasn’t been an official offer per say, although Oden continues to be in talks with the Heat, Spurs and the Pelicans, while the Kings are kept on the afterburner. While the Heat and the Spurs are both trying to bring Oden over by simply presenting the “contender” card which is usually very enticing for players who are likely to make a minimum contract, not to mention assuring him that he won’t be forced into playing too much or relied upon early on unnecessarily, the Pelicans are willing to take more of a risk.
According to Steve Kyler at HoopsWorld, the Pelicans seem to be the only team willing to give him more than a one-year, minimum contract deal. In New Orleans, who are trying to convince Oden to sign with them by offering the tranquility angle and making his comeback away from the media pressure that might pursue him by playing for a high-profile team or in a big city.
How much? It seems that the Pelicans might be willing to give Oden a two-year, $6 million deal. They aren’t the only team willing to give him that kind of contract, but with the Heat trying to stay away from the luxury tax it’s not likely someone will use their Mid-Level exception on him with his injury issues looking like such a big risk.
Even after Oden signs with anyone, there are likely to be multiple clauses regarding his ability to stay healthy. Even with a minimum deal, Oden is a huge risk to take as teams, especially like the Spurs, seem to care about each and every spot they use on their roster. Actually giving him a multiyear deal for more than minimum money seems like a big risk to take, but when you’re behind in the race, you have to be willing to offer more than the favorites.