HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The good news for Blazers fans is that Greg Oden wants to resume his NBA career in Portland and the club has given indications that it will pick up the qualifying offer on his contract by the June 30 deadline.
The further good news is that Blazers fans might not have to suffer through the disappointment of Oden suffering another season-ending injury in November or December of next season.
That’s because the bad news is that his agent Bill Duffy says it could be January before the 7-foot center is ready to play.
Duffy spoke with Brian Berger on 750 AM The Game in Portland and the plan this time is to take it very slooooowly:
“You proceed with caution,” Duffy said. “We don’t want to come back too soon. We’re not going to even challenge it until we get to that 12 month threshold. If it were December or November or January we just can’t afford any more slip ups. We’ll wait until we get full clearance and then probably err on the side of caution, maybe a month or so after that.”
Oden, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 Draft, has had microfracture surgery on both knees since the start of his NBA career and played in just 82 of 328 games in his four seasons with the Blazers.
Nevertheless, Portland’s interim general manager Chad Buchanan told 750 AM The Game that the Blazers are still hopeful about the big man:
“It is tough,” Buchanan said. “We drafted Greg No. 1 and we still believe that was the right pick. We love what Greg has provided in the time that he has been on the court. Obviously it hasn’t been as Greg or we had hoped. He’s shown enough glimpses that you know if he is healthy for a sustained amount of time he has a major impact on our team. You have to listen to what the doctors say, you have to listen to Greg and how he’s feeling and make the assessment from that point forward.
“We like Greg for us long term. We didn’t extend the qualifying offer yet but we have some discussions we still want to go through. Right now we’re focused on the draft. We’ll address it when the time comes. We’re happy with what Greg has done this spring and where he’s at right now, working hard, he’s really locked in on getting himself back healthy again. He’s in a really good place both physically and mentally right now. We’re really happy with what we’ve seen from him.”
What’s the opinion of the Hang Time citizenry? Should the Blazers keep going down the path with Oden or is it time to cut him loose?