Greg Oden is attempting to resurrect his NBA career, signing with the Miami Heat is certainly a good start. The former number one overall draft pick out of Ohio State ends nearly a four year absence from the professional game by agreeing to a deal with the two time defending champions.
The contract is a one year deal that has a player option for the second season according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. He will make the league minimum of $1.03 million in the first season and $1.14 million should he play the second.
Despite not stepping on a court for four seasons, Greg Oden still generated a lot of interest around the league, ultimately deciding on the Miami Heat as he begins his comeback. Other teams that were interested in acquiring his services were the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans, and Atlanta Hawks.
Oden could have made about twice as much money by signing with the Pelicans, but the big man felt that thrusting himself back into a potential starring role was not the best move for a comeback season.
Greg Oden claims that the Miami Heat are the “right fit” and “right place” for him. A large part of that is team officials explaining that they would let the talented big man ease back into the rigors of an NBA year. They told Oden that he “wouldn’t be needed as much early in the season,” allowing him to acclimate to the demands the 82 game schedule brings before fully throwing him into the mix.
At just 25 years old, Greg Oden represents a potential game changer on the court for the Miami Heat, if healthy they could have just found a piece that turns the ‘big three’ into the ‘big four.’
There is a significant injury history that will come with Greg Oden to the Miami Heat. That includes “the microfracture surgery on his right knee that caused him to miss his rookie season, the 2010 microfracture surgery on his left knee and the Feb. 20, 2012, microfracture surgery (again on his left knee) are the major reasons he’s missed the last few seasons of professional basketball. Those are just the serious knee surgeries and don’t include things like a fractured left patella, a right knee scope, surgery on his wrist or a hip surgery in grade school” according to Scott Schroeder of SBNation.
For the Miami Heat, the potential benefits far outweigh the risk of injury with Greg Oden. In a league with a stiffer salary tax, talented players that can be found on the cheap are not easy to come by. The two time defending champions have added a big man who was a number one overall draft pick for league minimum. If he can make it through a season, he has the talent to help Miami make it three straight titles.
If injuries once again derail Greg Oden’s career, then the Miami Heat only lost out on the smallest gamble they could possibly make. Low risk, high reward deals are hard to come by, the Heat found one in Oden.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express