Greg Oden Has Interest in Returning to NBA with Miami Heat

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IMay 16, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Greg Oden #52 of the Portland Trail Blazers looks on against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA game at Oracle Arena on November 20, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Back in 2007, when he was the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, the future looked bright for Greg Oden. But due to a rash of injuries, his career to date has him labeled as a major bust.

However, could Oden rejuvenate his career by taking his talents to South Beach?

According to the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, Oden is serious about making a comeback and is eyeing the Miami Heat as the team he wants to play for.

Oden hasn't played since the 2009-10 season and is recovering from his fifth knee surgery in five seasons but, despite that, he could be someone Pat Riley is willing to roll the dice on.

His agent, Mike Conley, Sr., told Jackson that Oden is positioned to be ready to play in December or January and will explore options of joining a team in the upcoming months.

Considering Miami's need for a productive center, what do they really have to lose by taking a look at the former Ohio State product?

He played in only 82 career games for the Portland Trail Blazers, but averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. Oden certainly wouldn't cost the Heat anything but the minimum contract, and the worst-case scenario is that he doesn't have anything left in his legs and they let him go.

He is the perfect example a low-risk, high-reward type of deal.

Beyond minimum contracts (at barely over $1 million), Miami's only available money this summer would be a $3 million exception available for tax-paying teams. That won't be enough to attract any big names, so they are going to have to try to find some production in the middle without spending a ton of money.

There's a good chance that the Heat leave Chris Bosh at center, but taking a shot on a guy like Oden makes sense, even if he's only healthy for the second half of the season.

If Oden can step in and help rebound and play defense, it will certainly be worth the risk.