Greg Oden is talking comeback, and interest around the NBA is sky high. That in itself is news, considering Oden hasn’t played in more than two years.
But we’re talking about the former No. 1 overall pick and a guy who doesn’t turn 25 until later this month, not to mention a man who collected 20 rebounds in his final NBA game (Dec. 1, 2009 vs. Miami).
So forget the three microfracture knee surgeries for now. Plenty of teams are lining up to take a crack at the 7-footer. The short list reportedly includes Boston, Miami, Cleveland and Dallas.
Oden’s agent, Mike Conley, has insisted that Oden is 100 percent and a future All-Star. Oden is currently taking classes at Ohio State, and while he’s expected to sign with a team this season, it’d be for continued rehabilitation purposes only. He plans to actually play games next season. And with the way things are going, he will indeed be back in the league.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has admitted to keeping close tabs on Oden.
“We’re monitoring Greg, like all NBA teams are, but we have not attempted to sign him,” Ainge told WEEI radio in Boston. “But we are monitoring him and having (conversations) with his people just to see where he is.”
Ainge also confirmed that the interest in Oden is far and wide.
“Everybody is looking to roll the dice and take a chance on a big guy,” Ainge said. “So, yeah, there’s definitely competition.”
Portland made Oden the top pick in the 2007 draft. He compiled averages of 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in 82 total games.
Oden’s camp is hoping to come to terms with a team sometime around the All-Star break in mid-February, or just after the Feb. 21 trading deadline.
Grizz and Gay
The chatter involving Memphis forward Rudy Gay isn’t going away, and league sources say the Grizzlies will take another stab at moving him before the trading deadline.
If Gay is moved, one source said, expect it to be no sooner than right after the All-Star break.
Basically, the Grizzlies want to keep searching for the best possible deal, even if it means waiting until the last minute.
There is also the chance they hold onto him until the season ends.
Teams reportedly having the deepest discussions with the Grizzlies include Charlotte, Minnesota, Phoenix and, more recently, Atlanta.
• Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Denver are among the teams that might make a play for Utah forward Paul Millsap at the deadline. Millsap’s contract expires at season’s end. Most teams interested in obtaining Millsap, however, would do so with the intent of offering him an immediate extension.
• Meanwhile, Sacramento seems to be in a holding pattern when it comes to potential deals. The Kings are going through plenty of uncertainty when the idea is ownership and next year’s location. One thing that is pretty clear: This will be Geoff Petrie’s final season as general manager. Petrie has been with the franchise since 1994, wining executive of the year in 1999 and 2001. This is the final year of his contract.
• Indiana forward David West is another unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Interestingly, the Pacers seem to have no interest in moving him and aren’t really taking any calls. Sources say that’s because the Pacers feel they have a pretty good shot at retaining West (much like they did when they matched Portland’s offer for Roy Hibbert).
• For those interested in the talk about LeBron James’ free agency situation in 2014, be sure to catch my segment on “Cavaliers In The Paint” on FOX Sports Ohio (DirecTV, Ch. 660). First airing is Tuesday at 6 p.m. EST, then repeated throughout the rest of the week.