The Cleveland Cavaliers have had Greg Oden on their radar for a while now, and it seems the organization is on the verge of offering the former No. 1 overall pick a multiyear contract.
According to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, Cleveland will extend the injury-plagued center a two-year deal with a team option for a third season after the Feb. 21 trading deadline passes.
Because the Cavs have about $4 million in cap room available, they aren’t going to rush into anything in the event that they need the space for a potential trade over the next two weeks.
If the franchise does not wind up making any transactions or incurring any extra salary, it can offer the top pick in the 2007 draft more money than some of Oden’s other rumored suitors. This is an enticing proposition, considering teams like the Miami Heat—one allegedly interested party—are only able to dole out the veteran’s minimum.
This potential signing would be risky move by the Cavaliers, but GM Chris Grant is wisely willing to roll the dice in order to bring in a player that is immensely talented—if he can stay on the floor.
After losing veteran center Anderson Varejao for the remainder of the 2012-13 campaign upon the discovery of a blood clot, Cleveland has had a great opportunity to evaluate its young bigs. Unfortunately, outside of Tristan Thompson, there doesn’t look to be any elite talent there (the jury is still out on rookie Tyler Zeller.)
With Kyrie Irving developing into a superstar point guard, there is a severe need to bring in a high-upside and relatively proven frontcourt player like Oden.
Over his five-year career, the former Ohio State standout averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks, but only appeared in 82 of a possible 410 contests. He effectively lost four seasons due to various injuries and surgeries.
At 25-years-old, there’s still plenty left in Oden’s tank, he just needs to avoid the rash of ailments that derailed his career as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers.
If the Cavs strike an agreement with Oden, they shouldn’t expect to see him on the court until the 2013-14 tips off, but will have ample time to evaluate him and assist in his rehabilitation.
The seven-footer would certainly be a gamble, but one that could pay dividends for the club if he is truly healthy and ready to make a comeback to the NBA.