HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We hardly talk about him anymore around here.
When you suffered through as much pain and as many injuries as Greg Oden has in his NBA career, it’s easy to disappear into the hoops ether this time of year.
People are focused on the playoffs and other things, not the guys on the injured list that won’t see the floor anytime soon. So we need to thank The Oregonian‘s John Canzano for reminding us that the Trail Blazers still have a huge decision to make regarding Oden’s future with the franchise:
Consider that the Blazers did not extend Oden’s contract. He became the first No. 1 overall NBA pick since Kwame Brown to not receive that extension. As a result, the Blazers have the period from the day after the last game of this year’s NBA Finals to June 30 to make a one-year qualifying offer of $8.8 million to Oden.
If the Blazers make this offer, Oden becomes a restricted free agent this summer. He may field offers from other NBA teams, but the Blazers would have the right to match any offer and keep him.
If the Blazers don’t make a qualifying offer before June 30, Oden would simply become an unrestricted free agent. He’s free to leave. And that’s that.
The Blazers maintain that they’ll probably make that qualifying offer, as long as Oden’s rehabilitation is progressing — as they say it is. And they’d be wise to do so. But further, they’d be wise to attempt to turn the one-year deal into a multiyear contract, tacking on two or three seasons to Oden’s deal.
Yes — keep Oden.
Don’t build the future around him, but view him as a start-up project that might just develop someday.
The Blazers have invested too much to give up totally on him. I fear Oden’s not as happy in Portland as he’ll publicly say. That a one-year deal in a potentially locked out NBA season would be a waste. And the last thing this franchise can withstand is having Oden get healthy, come back in 2011-12 and end up in, say, a Bulls uniform, winning titles in the most productive years of his career.
Not talking about operating from a position of fear and fret here. Just pointing out that the shrewd business move isn’t to cut bait on a guy who hasn’t paid off on the Blazers’ initial investment but still has value on the open market.
General manager Rich Cho and the Portland front office are in a tough spot. Do they continue to try and salvage this relationship or just make a clean break and move on completely?
As Canzano pointed out, the shrewd business move would be to hold on to Oden and see how he responds to this latest surgery and rehab and see if there is something there.
What would you do?