Teams are still interested in signing Greg Oden, per ESPN, which proves two things: the NBA is still starving for talented big men, and Oden's abilities are still very intriguing to people in the know.
Of all the teams interested in signing the former No. 1 pick, the Miami Heat are said to be one of the most active pursuers.
Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN write:
Multiple teams already have expressed interest in signing Oden before the end of this season to a multiyear deal that would allow him to continue his rehab until he can get back on the court in training camp in the fall.
The Miami Heat are at the front of the line in pursuing Oden, two sources said, and have been keeping tabs as he recovers while also taking classes at Ohio State.
If there is one guy I root for that carries the bust title, it's Oden.
He's always seemed like a good dude.
He doesn't allegedly talk about guys' wives, call fellow players with documented illnesses insensitive names, or even make crude remarks about players' deceased parents (New York Daily News).
Sorry, I couldn't help myself, but Kevin Garnett makes me love the normal guys a little more, but I digress.
Oden is obviously a huge risk, but the Heat are the type of team that can afford to wait and take the risk on the oft-injured big man.
A defensive presence on the inside would be a great get for the Heat, but as we saw last season, they can win without one.
That dynamic allows for Oden to take his time recovering and hopefully getting to a point where he can actually play basketball in the NBA again.
He hasn't played since the 2009-2010 season when he appeared in just 21 games. Before he got hurt, he was averaging 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game in just 23.9 minutes per game.
I know we're talking about Oden, but tell me that type of production wouldn't make the Heat even better than they are now.
People sometimes forget, Oden is still just 24 years old. Combine the fact that he looks 44 with the long history of injuries, and it can skew that reality.
I poked fun at the comparisons of character with him and KG, but it seriously has validity. Oden has never been seen as anything but a team guy. Owners and general managers value players that bring that dynamic to their organizations.
The league has really changed in the way we look at players. I think there would have been 10 to 15 teams that would have been interested in him a decade ago. I bet it's half that many teams -- or less -- that would be willing to take him on now.
I think half of the consideration when we look at players now is trying to understand who these guys are as people. I really do think that most teams are going to say they don't want any part of him.
No such concerns exist for Oden, and that makes it easier to stick it out with a player with flaws. In the end, Oden's injury problems are just that.
Believe it or not, if (and obviously this is a big if) he can avoid major injury upon his return, he could still have a nice career ahead of him.
I don't blame the Heat—or any other NBA team for being interested in him.
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