Cavs can offer Oden best of most worlds
Greg Oden’s return to the NBA is no rumor. He plans to do it.
Neither is the rumor of Oden making that return with the Cavaliers. They are indeed contemplating potentially signing him, sources have repeatedly told FOX Sports Ohio.
The news became national when CBS Sports and the Associated Press reported similar stories Tuesday. FOX Sports Ohio mentioned the Cavs as a team on Oden’s short list more than a week ago.
And it’s true. Oden is considering the Cavs.
“There’s definitely interest (in Cleveland) because obviously he’s from Ohio State and so there’s a lot of synergy there with that team,’’ Oden’s agent, Mike Conley Sr., told FOX Sports Florida. “That’s sort of a home-state team, so Cleveland would make sense also.’’
Oden was the No. 1 overall pick (by Portland) in the 2007 draft after leading Ohio State to the national championship game. He was selected one spot ahead of Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant.
But Oden played just 82 total games in three seasons and has undergone three microfracture knee surgeries. His last NBA game was Dec. 1, 2009.
Still, the fact he is a 7-footer and once displayed loads of potential has teams interested. Miami and Boston are other possible destinations.
Like everyone else, the Cavs want to quadruple check Oden’s knees (two of the surgeries were on his left) before offering him a contract.
If everything checks out, the Cavs would be a natural fit for Oden. At least, probably more natural than the Heat or others.
Oden hails from Indianapolis, another Midwestern city. As Conley mentioned, Oden played his college ball in the same state in which the Cavs are located.
In Miami, it’s all about winning a championship. The pressure would be on. In Cleveland, it’s all about “a process” — about taking some lumps while giving players plenty of time to to grow.
Basically, there are no guarantees Oden would get a real chance with a team that wants to win now. The Cavs could offer him plenty of minutes and shots if his knees hold up.
And because of their financial flexibility, they’d be able to offer him more money, too.
Plus, the idea of playing with star guard Kyrie Irving has to be tempting for anyone.
Oden, 25, is hoping to sign this season — but it would be for rehab purposes only. A team like the Cavs ideally could offer him a two-year deal (the rest of this season and all of next), with a team option before his third year.
Anything beyond that would be a major stretch, when you consider Oden’s injury history. His camp appears to understand that.
Oden’s last surgery took place Feb. 20. The Trail Blazers waived him in March. He has been attending classes at Ohio State this year.
Another edge for the Cavs is the fact the Cleveland Clinic is just down the street. The hospital has been credited with helping to manage the bad feet of ex-Cavs center Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Celtics forward Jeff Green underwent heart surgery there last season, and has since offered the Clinic gobs of praise.
All of that said, no one expects Oden to be the player he once was. But if he can block some shots, grab some rebounds and play maybe half the game, whoever signs him will likely feel thrilled.
The Cavs could use a player like that and Oden could use a team like the Cavs. He needs someone to give him an opportunity. He can chase championship rings later.