Teams with plenty of cap space aren’t in abundance at this stage of the offseason, so minimum salary players are what everyone seem to be looking for, and Greg Oden, courted by the Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings at the moment, is probably the most popular of all.
A center, at a minimum salary, with the potential to became a 20-minute guy or even more if his injury issues are finally sorted out? Oden just wants a chance to make a comeback into the NBA, and it seems that plenty of NBA teams are willing to give him that chance.
With the Las Vegas Summer League being the “happening” place right now in the NBA universe, it’s no surprise that Oden has arrived to meet with the three teams and getting more offers in front of him after already being strongly mentioned with the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.
Of these teams, the Mavs seem like an obvious choice, but maybe a bit complicated for Oden. He doesn’t want to be in a major role for a team, and it doesn’t seem that considering his history (not playing an NBA game since 2009) anyone will give him one. But the Mavs have no center, and bringing Oden along means substantial minutes for the former number one overall pick.
For the Pelicans, after trading Robin Lopez to the Portland Trail Blazers, adding an actual center seems like a must, as it looks like the team is filled with Power Forwards. At the moment, Jason Smith is the most likely to be starting for the team at center, but Oden arriving will give them a more traditional big man to use.
The Sacramento Kings don’t have a big part for Oden, which might be just fine with him – DeMarcus Cousins is going to play between 32 and 36 minutes a night (unless he’s ejected), which gives Oden plenty of time on the bench to rest between short intervals of being on the floor, hopefully building stamina and strength as he revives his NBA career.
As for the Heat and Spurs – it’s not quite certain how much being on a contender matters to Oden, but if that’s what he’s looking for, both the Heat (who always need another big man, just as a big body in the paint for a few minutes) and the Spurs (who might be dropping DeJuan Blair) could make great use of Oden, and with luck, might actually earn a big man who in the future can give them substantial minutes on the floor.