Oden Remains An Intriguing Prospect

There can be hope and there can be skepticism expressed with a dismissive tone, and there can be sympathy for unrealized potential coupled with years of physical pain of a body haunted. But not surprise. There can be no surprise.

Greg Oden was always looking at a 2013-14 comeback, as reported last summer, and teams were always going to be interested in a very real way. He remained that intriguing. One general manager said last season, as Oden was sitting out with the latest in the cruel string of knee injuries, that the former No. 1 pick would be a “mid-level type player” as a restricted free agent in the summer of 2012 and “There’s no question he’ll get offers,” while another GM noted that “You could go down the list of teams. A lot of people don’t have as good a starting center as good as him if he comes back healthy.”

Everything changed when it was announced in February that Oden would undergo a third microfracture surgery, essentially ending his 2012-13 before it started, and the Trail Blazers finally gave into exhaustion and waived him in March to clear a roster spot needed to complete a trade. He instantly became an unrestricted free agent, with a longer comeback than ever.

But most of the league still tracked medical updates, with the understanding the plan all along was to return to Ohio State to take classes and rehab for 2013-14. That’s the thing. Front offices were not mocking Greg Oden at 25 years old even if others were. (Which may be the greatest statement of how much they thought he could have changed the game when he came into the league in 2007. Without being able to get close to that projected level of impact, with the five knee surgeries, without having played since December 2009, a lot of people still believed in 2013 that Oden could still deliver a defensive presence.)

Now comes news, via Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, that the Cavaliers may make the investment. Cleveland is expected to offer Oden a contract for the remainder of this season and all of next plus 2014-15 at a team option, Lloyd reports, depending on how much of the current $4 million cap space it has left after the Feb. 21 trade deadline.

“Greg has been up there (to Cleveland) before and he’ll probably be up there again in an official capacity,” Mike Conley Sr., Oden’s agent, told the Beacon Journal.

There was no mention of the price range the Cavaliers were considering, but it obviously wouldn’t be that “mid-level type” anymore. Maybe it is somewhere around the minimum. Maybe the deal would include several incentive clauses that could mean big pay bumps based on games or minutes or time on the roster.

But paying him just to be on the roster this season, without expectation Oden would play, plus committing to next season despite the uncertain availability plus the 2014-15 tab that could include a buyout if the Cavaliers don’t pick up the option is an aggressive move even if the financial investment is low risk. Cleveland wants him off the market. Cleveland still believes he can make an impact, knees willing. Cleveland is not alone.

37 Comments

  1. anthony says:

    FRAGILE FRED IS DONE!!!

  2. lsjogren says:

    I think most Blazer fans would cheer Oden if he is able to make a comeback. Maybe not so much if he got on a team like Miami or LA but a team like Cleveland, absolutely.

    I must say though I have 0% concern that giving up on Oden was the wrong decision. If he does play for Cleveland I won’t be wondering how much better Cleveland is going to be with Oden, I will be wondering how many games he plays before he winds up on the floor once again with a season-ending injury.

    But hey, if you have the kind of talent Oden does, it makes sense to keep trying until and unless there is absolutely no doubt that your body is too fragile to be able to play the game.

  3. Jack says:

    Who cares? Really… If you’re a weaker team with a little money to spend beneath the cap for a couple of years, why not give this guy a shot? If he gets healthy, he will easily be a top 5 center and he might hold out for 10+ years.

  4. Chris says:

    One of the very few NBA players that are more accident prone than Yao Ming! Now that’s saying a lot.

  5. therock says:

    He play hard again child in college, but when he has to play again man in nba is to old, when you got over 30 you have to thing on retire.

  6. therock says:

    I thing Greg Oden is older than 30 years.

  7. KING ALEX says:

    people really is forget or never watch this guy played the few games he did. Body is fragile, but not nba material. Got to laugh at that. this guy was becoming an animal when he was playing he was dominating centers and most centers were having fits trying to score on him. If he wasnt injured he would be the best true center in the leauge right now by far and i mean by far.

  8. KING ALEX says:

    I thought it was only me. phoneix got the best medical staff in sports period. Im no where close to a Phoneix fan. everybody that goes nthere injured magically get way better. if i was injured i would go there just for health issues. Look it up i mean guys who have been injured their hold career go there and can suddenly play seasons. thoses guys deserve a raise. far as oden production. he would be the best center in the leauge if he can stay healthy. still raw but you can see his post moves are there. plus strenght is ridiculous and D. If i remember correctly it was him who broke mutumbo ribs on a clean back down posting up. his strenght is ridiculous. i would take for a minimum contract easily.

  9. Josh McKlaren says:

    oden would be a godsend for cavs, he would be great as a starter or on the bench, he would bring in some size we could probably do with & possibly bring varejao into power forward which would take double 2 to the bench which would make us probably the best bench team in the game, good move we have cap space, the reward is greater than the risk

  10. Well i didn’t follow him much but after reading his info, stats, & only playing 1 year college @ Ohio-any player good enough to be drafted after only 1yr is automatically a great player. Not all 1 or 2yr college players adapt great in nba. Just checking his stats, w/ as little nba minutes that he played u can see he definitely has the potential to be one of the great centers mentioned along w/ those of old if he can stay healthy. Wouldn’t mind seeing him in Celtic Green along w/ Sully & the both getting tutorlage from KG-!!!-That would be awesome-2 young in the paint beast would be unstoppable long as they stay healthy. KG could also teach him how to work thru getting back on the court where as feeling & knowing your body w/ movement & all-like what he can & can’t do as he builds up w/ actual game time minutes. The thing is too i read some where that he wants more than a one year contract test run & i think anything beyond 1yr is too risky provided healthy or not just from his injury prone. Too bad his nba career started out like that. Hopefully he’ll stay healthy to finally really make an impact on the nba. Having said that, sign in Boston for a year, all goes well, get rewarded w/ a better contract after proving to the team he can stay on the court.

  11. Ted says:

    They should just amputate him.

  12. ghostman91 says:

    people keep putting fragile and weak into the same categorie when it comes to oden, fragile body yes. weak not even close that man played like a monster when he was able to step onto the court. how quickly people forget

  13. charlie says:

    just get a team! your not a VIP anymore ….

  14. Pedro says:

    even if he is the 2nd coming of Wilt Chamberlain, it doesn’t matter if he cannot stay on the court to help his team.

    • bigwes95 says:

      It would be more like Bill Russell because his defense was so over powering compared to his offensive game

  15. kid says:

    if he signs with the cavs, it would give lebron more reason to come back to cleveland. i mean, who wouldn’t wanna play next to their pops? maybe that’s what the cleveland head office really is planning.

  16. Zach says:

    It would cool to see him in a Celtics Uniform. We have one of the top Medical staffs in the league.. Also Jared Sullinger is a Ohio State player as well. But He goes to Cleveland and can stay healthy.. Him, Varejou, Kyrie and Waiters is scary. Lol

  17. big cat says:

    if he gets on the Cleveland cavs and can stay healthy , he’ll be a top 5 center next yr.

  18. Jack says:

    Out of mind contribution. U need more time in the library.JK

  19. mclowney says:

    It will be the saddest day for so many NBA fans when Oden who has never produced one once of promise on and NBA court comes back and is welcomed back with open arms to get another opportunity to lay an egg. But the guy we (FANS!!!!) all want to see can not even get a good look, and he next to Lebron is the best player we have seen since the Jordan era.

    If yall are not talking about an AI return it really is pointless. Because we know even if you guys pretend not to that Oden is not relevant and never has been on an NBA level, while AI still has a lot to give and we are anticipating the day a TEAM decides to give him his fair shake!!!!

  20. PistonsFan93 says:

    I know many people say that Oden isn’t NBA material. But only IF he can stay HEALTHY. That’s the problem. It seems that yeah he is fragile and weak, but if he works hard not to get injured all the time, he might be worth something. But watch, he comes back and BOOM. Another injury???? I think he’d be done after that.

  21. Ripcityfan4life says:

    ODONE… got it? This guy was rolled in on a red carpet and greeted by thousands of fans that filled Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, like a rock star. And he played 82 games in 4 years. This guy if he were to make a comeback, pay it back to Portland to go back and play for the league minimum. Portland chose him over Kevin Durant. Portland was to become the next big thing, then Odone has these major setbacks and then Brandon Roy’s knees are shot. Talk about cursed. It would be a DAGGER if he came back and panned out, then won a trophy, for Portland fans. Put yourselves in the shoes of a Portland fan. A fan who went thru the Jailblazer era and was shown a glimpse of the Promised Land, yet the rug was pulled out from underneath them. Damian Lillard is a saving grace. I have no desire to wish Greg Odone luck.

  22. Brian Rodriguez says:

    I hope the Cavs get him and he can stay healthy Oden was n still remains one of my favorite players what he did in college was outstanding and before injury struck he was a force you cant deny. you can trash all you want but he has the potential to be a great NBA center like him or not he has the talent n the willingness to be great!

  23. Aaron says:

    Never count out someone based on the past! He is NBA material, just has not been able to show it. Grant Hill is a perfect example of what the human spirit can accomplish.

  24. botaxs says:

    I really wish Phoenix would make a move for him, with all the medical prowess they have, maybe there’s a hope Oden will be able to found a method to cure, and/or keep himself in good health for the rest of his career.

    best example : Grant Hill

    • PublicAgent says:

      Also Michael Redd

    • Russel says:

      See also: Shaquille O’Neal. His numbers were seriously starting to dip in Miami, and Shaw even got back to the All-Star game in Phoenix AND won co-MVP with Bryant. Once he went to Cleveland, his numbers started to decline again. Phoenix’ medical team are magic workers. I don’t know why Phoenix doesn’t have a line of aging or injured players begging to be signed by them.

  25. Stu-Brew says:

    Why would anyone want Greg Oden? He’s fragile, not to mention he’s proven that he is not NBA material.

    • Celtics4Lifeeeee says:

      not nba material? he would be the best center by far if he would have stayed healthy

    • all3n Iverson says:

      Because he was a number 1 draft pick with huge potential. Its true he’s been bogged down by knee injury after injury, but this is an opportunity to take him at minimal risk to teams cap space (2 year deal with team option). Worth a gamble if he turns out to be productive, its hard to find 7footers that play good basketball.

      • bigwes95 says:

        as a blazer fan, if he stayed healthy along with Roy and Aldridge, we could/would have a championship by now, we were basically going to be the thunder before the thunder. his stats are amazing, in his second year, he averaged 2.3 blocks, more than anthony davis, and that was with almost five less minutes than davis. and he was averaging more than a full rebound per game with less minutes, higher field goal %, free throw %, and basically a lot of other things that don’t show up in the box score. and he did this all when he was still injured! people talk about anthony davis being awesome, he doesn’t even compare to what oden would be right now if he was healthy. oden averaged half a block less than dwight howard, but he did that with ten to fifteen less minutes than him. how i wish he stayed healthy, but now we have lillard, batum, and aldridge as our group of three, and when lillard improves over the next few seasons and we get a better bench, the league better watch out for them, because watching liillard play, he might even be better than Roy was and aldridge is playing all star basketball, and batum is very underrated by people. he got two triple doubles in a week and no recognition for it, he got a 5 by 5, the first one in almost ten years! no recognition for it.

    • OKC!! says:

      Why would the Cavs want him anyway??? When Varijao is healthy, he leads the leage in RPG, along with 12 points and a block or two. They also have good big man role players in Tyler Zeller and Marreese Speights.