Sources: Greg Oden plans to return
Updated January 10, 2013, 1:25 PM ET
By Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein | ESPN.com
Nearly a year removed from his latest knee surgery, former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden has decided to resume his playing career, but is not planning to return to the NBA before the 2013-14 season, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com that multiple teams already have expressed interest in signing Oden before the end of this season to a multiyear deal that would allow him to continue his rehab until he can get back on the court in training camp in the fall.
The Miami Heat are at the front of the line in pursuing Oden, two sources said, and have been keeping tabs as he recovers while also taking classes at Ohio State.
The Heat potentially could have two roster spots available this season, one of which Oden, formerly of the Portland Trail Blazers, could slide into as he continues to rehab. Team president Pat Riley is known to like gambling on long shots, especially when it comes to big men.
One concern for the Heat, though, is they already are committed to more than $80 million in salaries for next season and likely will have a final payroll coming close to $90 million in a year when the new, more harsh luxury tax kicks in. Oden potentially would be a costly gamble even on a minimum-level contract. The Heat are also currently about $14 million over the luxury-tax line for this season.
Oden had his third microfracture surgery, this one in his left knee, in February 2012. He has not played since Dec. 5, 2009, and appeared in just 82 games with the Blazers while suffering from a series of knee injuries.
In attempting another comeback, Oden's camp is planning to take a highly conservative approach. So the plan is for him to sit out the rest of this season and summer league to make sure he allows himself the best chance of finally getting healthy.
The Heat, who have been on the lookout for a center for three years, were interested in Oden before the start of last season, when he was a restricted free agent. But he ended up taking a one-year, $8.9 million deal with the Blazers. After a setback in his recovery, the contract was reduced to $1.5 million, and he later had the microfracture procedure.
Oden averaged 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in parts of two seasons in Portland.
My undying Greg Oden fandom is still prevalent. Plus, if he could indeed play with LeBron, much less get some minutes, he would be a major factor on the boards. As I have always stated, their are only a handful of players in the league that can box out Greg Oden. Hard to believe he comes back this year and makes much of an impact, would love him to do so, just always thought the coming back in 2013-14 might be a better option.
All things considered, would be incredibly happy to see him back on any team, much less the Heat. When this guy was on the court, he was putting up results that few centers in the league match on a consistent basis. He would have much more defensive help as opposed to what he had with Blake and Roy with the Blazers, guys who would consistently ask for Oden to bail them out, becoming a large source of his foul issues.
I know this is only a pipe dream, just honestly hope his health is first, though would be ecstatic whenever he would be able to play. Much less have a year or two with minimal injury possibly establishing a career. Would not expect him to automatically enter the rotation, but if he is able to do anything close to what he was doing before he got hurt, than he could make the Heat that much more of a force than they already are.
If he does comeback, he will be the oldest player in NBA history to play a game.
Good luck to Greg Oden. I'm skeptical that he can actually come back and be moderately healthy, but stranger things have happened. It will be interesting to see how well he actually plays. If he's healthy, his size will give him lots of opportunities to show what he's got.
I've said this before and will say it again, if he wants to make a come back it should be with the Suns and their medical staff. They got something going on over there that can't be denied. Also he would get minutes and be able to work his way back without a lot of pressure. Either go to the Suns or have head athletic trainer Aaron Nelson go where ever he goes.
Wow I hope the Heat don't get him because if he is healthy they will be getting a bargain and be close to an unstoppable team.
Oden has had three microfracture knee surgeries. The year after Amare came back from two microfractures he was 1st team all-nba. Not saying the same would happen but it would give him the best bet. Hope he can come back and be healthy on any team though.
As much as I would hate for the Heat to get him considering he would fill their biggest needs, I want to see him succeed more. I hope this is the start of a new, healthy career for him
I know that this isn't realistic, but I almost wish Oden would go oversees for a season to see if his body could handle just one game per week before trying to jump back into the grind of an NBA season. It might be/probably is the case that his knees simply cannot handle everything that comes with being an NBA player, and maybe it could help him if he spends a year testing his body with a less strenuous schedule to see if he actually likes playing basketball enough to push it for one more run at the NBA.
I don't think Amar'e Stoudemire had micro-fracture twice. He had it once on his left knee and then ended up having to get his right knee cleaned up due to overcompensating.
Greg Oden is in uncharted territory. The only player to have micro-fracture more than once is Kenyon Martin, who had it on both knees. Oden has had it twice on his left knee and once on his right.
I think Oden can make a comeback. Once he returns, he'll have rested his knees for almost 2 years, which is huge.. He's rehabbing strong, plus he's taken advantage of some of the newer procedures out there similar to what Kobe Bryant has done.
I hope he can come back and still have a career.
A lot of people have undergone the procedure Kobe did, in most cases it has not made a considerable difference in their ability to stay on the court or perform better.
Another thing is not all cases of micro-fracture are the same. Some people have huge holes (or a hole) in their cartilage, some people may have smaller ones. From what I've read, his right knee's articular cartilage injury was like the size of a penny. After the first procedure on his left knee, they said the same thing. However, after re-injuring that same knee, that's probably a little bigger now or I don't know if it's a completely separate injury. The reports after his first micro-fracture surgery were that the procedure did it's job and created new cartilage that was holding up.
I don't think Oden has killed his articular cartilage like Brandon Roy and now has a degenerative joint. There's still hope for him it feels.
I think Oden will go to the highest bidder. It's not like he has racked up tons of money, NBA wise I'm speaking, so he won't take the little that the Heat can afford knowing that it can all end the following day. The Heat are wishing, but Oden only goes there if no one else is interested. With that said, a Boston, Atlanta, or Houston will pay more just to keep him out of Miami. Or even Dallas for that matter.
Last game : 5 décember ... 2009.
Oden had a nice rookie deal and as a level headed guy, he never seemed the sort of person to squander all his earnings. The Heat would be a nice fit and I could see OKC having a look at him also. He will never be the next David Robinson but he could still be a nice defensive anchor and would get some baskets in return and keep his offensive game ticking over.
This says a great deal about Greg's character considering what he's been through. I'm really pulling for this guy to make a comeback.
we're talking about a man who hasn't seen a basketball court for 3 years !!!
it's sad but let's be serious he's done for professional basketball.
Yea, Oden is definitely facing a tough comeback and the odds are stacked against him. It's crazy because he won't even be 25 until later this month.
There's clearly something mechanically wrong with his lower body. One of his legs is longer than the other, which was a result of hip surgery he had when he was just a kid. That's probably what's caused so much imbalance. Usually players don't start doing damage to their articular cartilage until they've grinded through their meniscus. Oden has never had a meniscus injury, so how he's damaged his articular cartilage is a mystery. The articular cartilage injury in his right knee happened when he wasn't even playing and was rehabbing his broken patella.
IF Oden's camp has figured all of this out and gotten his body balanced during all of this time off, then maybe he has a chance to return.
If he gets healthy, he can help a team. He has the size and even with some lost athleticism he will definitely be better than most backup centers. It would be nice if he could stay on a court. But they better be super cautious. If he plays even one back to back game in his first year back, then the team he is playing for are idiots.
Keep up the fight Greg Oden! His persistance and fight to play just gives me the ultimate respect for him. Don't let someone tell you you cant do something. Doubters gon doubt haha
If he can block shots and rebound even half as good as he did at OSU the Heat are going to be very tough....if he goes to Miami.
I agree that he should go to Phoenix; whatever is happening there, players stay healthy. Get him to Arizona so we can finally see him on the court.