Former No. 1 overall draft pick Greg Oden plans to return to the NBA next season, according to ESPN.com.
The Miami Heat are the team most interested in signing Oden, who has not played since Dec. 5, 2009, following a series of knee injuries, according to the report. The Heat could sign Oden to a multiyear deal this season and help monitor his rehabilitation.
The 7-foot Oden was the top pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in 2007 but appeared in just 82 games, averaging 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds. He underwent his third microfracture surgery, this one on his left knee, in February 2012.
Multiple teams have expressed interest in Oden, according to the report, but the Heat are pursuing him most aggressively. Team president Pat Riley has a history of gambling on longshots, and Miami needs big men. The Heat are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league.
Oden won’t be helping any team this season, however. He reportedly intends to sit out the rest of this season and summer league with the hope of finally getting healthy in time for training camp next fall.