Greg Oden is joining the Miami Heat.
The injury-plagued 7-foot center who was the first overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers, reportedly will sign a two-year deal with Miami. Oden hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since December 2009 when he severely injured his left knee. Over his career, he has undergone three microfracture surgeries.
Over the last several weeks, the free agent worked out for several NBA teams, but evidently narrowed down the finalists to Miami, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Dallas Mavericks. Other teams that had expressed interest in Oden reportedly included the New Orleans Pelicans, the Sacramento Kings, and the Atlanta Hawks.
Oden, 25, the former Ohio State star for one year, explained why he’s decided to take his talents to South Beach, according to Grantland:
“Obviously the chance to play with the best player in the world and compete for a championship was a big selling point. But more than that, what I really liked was how they thought I could really add something to their team. They’ve won back-to-back championships without me, so for them to pursue me as hard as they did meant a lot, especially given all that I’ve gone through.”
ESPN notes that Oden “has played in just 82 career NBA games thanks to injury woes. In 21 games in the 2009-10 season, Oden averaged 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game before succumbing to injury again.”
Apparently Oden — who admits that he isn’t 100 percent back in shape yet — was favorably impressed by Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. “When I had a conversation with Coach (Erik) Spoelstra and hearing how much he knew about the training stuff that I was already doing, it kind of made me feel like they know what’s best for me.” He apparently was also in contact with LeBron James by text message when he was deciding among the Heat and other NBA teams.
Do you think that the Greg Oden signing will be a net plus for him and for the Miami Heat?