The agent for Greg Oden says it is growing less likely the center will sign with a team this season.
By CHRIS TOMASSONFS Florida
The San Antonio Spurs have the best record in the NBA and the Charlotte Bobcats have the worst. But they have something in common.
Mike Conley, the agent for often-injured free-agent center Greg Oden, said Wednesday they’re both teams that interest his client.
“I definitely can see both of those teams (as possibilities),’’ Conley said in a telephone interview with FOX Sports Florida. “San Antonio has an aging front line with (Tim) Duncan, and with Duncan and the Admiral (retired David Robinson, who still lives in San Antonio), he would have some great mentors.
“Charlotte, they are rebuilding. They would be in a better position (than many teams) to take more of a risk.’’
It would be a risk signing Oden, who hasn’t played in an NBA game since December 2009. He has had five knee surgeries since being the NBA's No. 1 draft pick in 2007, but he wants to resume his career next season.
Conley, who continues to talk with Heat team president Pat Riley, said Miami remains in the picture for Oden and that he still anticipates his client will visit with the Heat. Conley said it likely won’t be before the Feb. 15-17 All-Star break, but he’s trying get Oden to Miami in the latter part of the month to meet with team officials.
“That’s our goal,’’ Conley said. “But we’re not in a rush to do things.’’
Conley said the chances are becoming less that Oden will sign with a team before the end of this season simply for rehabilitation purposes. If not, Oden, who definitely won’t play this season, will choose a team in the summer.
“A few weeks ago, I’d probably have said it was 80 percent,’’ Conley said of Oden signing with a team this season. “Now, I’d say it’s 50-50.’’
Conley said he wouldn’t be surprised if the chances of Oden signing this season continue to decrease. He’s figuring out more and more that it likely will be an extended process for any team wanting to sign Oden. Conley said teams want to thoroughly go through medical records.
The agent said seven or eight teams, which includes the Celtics and Cavaliers, are in the mix for Oden. The Indianapolis native is doing rehabilitation in his hometown as well as in Columbus, Ohio, where he played at Ohio State.
Conley said the list has continued to grow and he expects that to continue. He didn’t want to get into many specifics, though.
Oden met last weekend in Boston with Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, coach Doc Rivers and team medical personnel. Conley said Oden has met with some other teams already, but declined to name them.
Conley said Oden has not yet had a meeting with Heat officials. He declined to say if there has been a meeting with Cavaliers officials.
Not wanting to get any rumors started in the two biggest media markets, Conley did say there has been no interest shown in Oden by the New York Knicks or the Los Angeles Lakers. He also said the Orlando Magic wouldn’t be a good fit.
“They’ve got some young big guys they’re bringing along,’’ Conley said. “I don’t think that would be a possibility.’’
Conley said Oden will spend the next several weeks continuing to meet with teams as they explore their options. Conely said the meeting with the Celtics included only talks and no court work.
“Boston was good,’’ said Conley, who said no contract possibilities were discussed. “We just wanted to meet with them and get a feel for them. We talked to doctors and with their head trainer.’’
Conley said it’s too early to say when Oden might be able to work out for teams. Conley said it definitely would be able to happen during the summer but didn’t want to speculate on if it would be possible before then.
If the Heat, as expected, sign center Chris Andersen for the rest of the season after his second 10-day contract expires Friday, they would have 15 players (the roster limit) on guaranteed deals. But Conley said it hasn’t been ruled out in talks with Miami officials the possibility that Oden could sign with the Heat before the end of this season.
Conley said it would be the Heat’s doing to have a possible roster spot available. If Andersen is retained, that could occur with the waiving of a player who has a guaranteed deal or a trade before the Feb. 21 deadline.
If Oden were to sign with a team this season, Conley said it wouldn’t happen until after March 1, the deadline for teams to buy players out and have them still eligible for the playoffs. But Conley admits the chances continue to decrease that Oden will sign before the summer.