While the front-runners for Greg Oden since the moment it seemed like he was coming back to the NBA have been the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, there’s a chance that playing for team with a different set of goals with a lot less attention coming its way will be better for him, improving the chances of either the New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks or the Sacramento Kings to sign him.
Oden is worried that playing for the Miami Heat, despite the opportunity it brings with it to contend for the NBA title without being under too much pressure to preform because of the team they are will bring too much attention to his comeback attempt. The same thing applies to the San Antonio Spurs, although obviously to a much lesser degree.
However, playing for a team in the middle of some sort of rebuilding process might be the better thing for Oden, who is now seriously considering taking up either the Kings, Hawks or Pelicans on their offer, fearing that being in too much of the spotlight will have a negative effect on his comeback attempt. There’s also the issue of getting sympathy from a national standpoint that some suggest is important to Oden, and joining a team like the Heat isn’t a very popular thing to do when you factor that in.
However, there’s also the medical staff to think of. Oden was ready to play last season but preferred preparing his body for an entire season in order to make a comeback with less of a risk of getting injured. However, everything that’s happened since being the number one pick in 2007 suggests he’s a huge risk in any case.
There’s also the money issue, and the Pelicans, Kings and Hawks can offer more than the minimum deal. If Oden is about maximizing his earning potential from his comeback attempt, choosing one of these teams suddenly becomes a lot more lucrative than playing for a team that might end up winning the NBA title.