The 2007 No. 1 overall pick is currently rehabbing from his fifth knee surgery in as many years, and the timetable for his return is still a question mark. But his agent, Michael Conley Sr., believes he could return to the court as early as December, according to the Miami Herald.
Conley has even mentioned the Heat by name as a possible destination for the former Ohio State Buckeye (via Miami Herald): “Greg has talked about Miami. He has interest. He’s not retiring.”
Even if he can’t come back until February or March, the Heat are desperate for a cheap big man who can clog the lane and provide a presence offensively. The injury to Chris Bosh has exposed them, and something needs to be done in the offseason.
The Ohio connection between Oden and LeBron James could factor in here.
LeBron is a big-time Buckeye supporter and surely followed Oden’s lone season in Columbus rather closely. I’d argue they were the top two athletes in the entire state for that one year.
With the backing of the team’s biggest star, Miami does make sense for Oden.
With the veteran’s minimum of roughly $1 million the salary Oden will be looking at, he is a bargain that fits the razor-tight budget Miami is stuck with.
If the Heat don’t want to take a flier out on Oden, other options include Nazr Mohammed, Aaron Gray, Jason Collins, Reggie Evans and Hamed Haddadi.
Might as well take a risk on a guy that was averaging 15.6 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 26 minutes a game over the final seven games of his 2009-10 campaign before another knee injury derailed him. Sure, it was a small sample size, but it was just a hint of what this amazing talent is capable of.
If he gets injured again the team can cut him rather easily.
When Miami brought in the Big Three, they did so knowing the budget for other players would be tight. They foolishly threw too much money at Mike Miller and are forced to use spare parts to hide their deficiencies inside.
Oden can be the antidote, and doesn’t come with much of a risk at all. He is exactly what Miami needs to ensure they stay on top of the Eastern Conference.