NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Greg Oden and Top Role Players

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2013

Greg Oden is thinking about where he wants to play this season.
Greg Oden is thinking about where he wants to play this season.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Not every NBA free-agent signing can be a blockbuster. 

Behind every Dwight Howard and Chris Paul lies a buffet of ancillary pieces looking for a landing spot this summer. Some offer flash and some are loaded with potential, but others simply represent a nice bench player.

As star-heavy as the NBA is, every team still needs an occasional pick-me-up from the reserves. None of these guys are game-changers at this juncture of the careers, but they can still offer something in the right situation.

Here is the latest scoop on a few role players available in free agency.


Greg Oden

While he does not fit the prototype of a role player, Greg Oden becoming Bill Russell 2.0 is now a pipe dream all potential suitors must accept.

But if he can stay healthy (which is a gigantic if at this point), the former No. 1 pick could serve nicely as a defensive-handed big man given limited minutes to stay fresh. The last time he took the court, the center averaged 16.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per 36 minutes.

Last year's NBA Finals contestants previously rated as the top teams to sign Oden, but another squad has also entered the sweepstakes. Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld writes that the New Orleans Pelicans are prepared to offer Oden a two-year deal.

With Greg Stiemsma currently penciled in as the Pelicans' starting center, chasing the banged-up Oden is a worthwhile risk for a young, up-and-coming squad. If he can salvage his career, New Orleans would boast an intriguing lineup with Oden and Anthony Davis manning the paint.


Mike Miller

Mike Miller has spent the past three years lost in the Heat shuffle, happily stepping aside for the most part until they needed some timely shooting in the postseason.

Two championship rings and an amnesty later, Miller is looking to join another contender, perhaps one where more minutes will materialize. The Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies have all expressed interest, according to ESPN's Marc Stein, and another Western Conference hopeful is now throwing its name into the ring.

Stein reports that the Denver Nuggets are also pursuing the sharpshooter, who averaged 4.8 points per game last season on 43.3 percent shooting. Denver could use some scoring after losing two valuable pieces already.

Miller, 33, boosted his market value by sinking 11-of-18 three-pointers in the NBA Finals. He also nailed seven long-range shots in a series-clinching victory over the Thunder in 2012. His experience on the grand stage has many title hopefuls knocking at his door. If anyone could use that veteran savvy for its bench, it's a young Denver squad that quickly faded away last postseason.


Marcus Camby

OK, so maybe a 39-year-old who netted 1.8 points per game last year won't exactly change any team's fortunes. No bidding war will brew for Marcus Camby. And yet it makes sense for the Houston Rockets to re-obtain the big man who brought home 9.3 boards per contest during 19 games of the 2011-12 season.

Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston has the scoop from Camby's agent, who described Houston as an alluring landing spot:

Camby wants to coach once he hangs his sneakers up, per Jared Zwerling of, so why not bring him to Houston as a de-facto player-coach to help out Howard? The man who everybody has grown to loathe could use a veteran by his side to show him the way and man the fort down low when the All-Star needs a breather.

It's by no means a groundbreaking move, but signing Camby for cheap would work nicely for Houston.