Greg Oden, former Portland Trail Blazer, may be returning to the NBA with one of the league’s best teams.
Oden was released by the Trail Blazers after one of his three microfracture knee surgeries last March. According to the Los Angeles Times, Oden played 82 games since he was drafted in 2007 and none since 2009.
Oden was the number one overall draft pick in 2007, but his career was disrupted by knee injuries.
The Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers are supposedly the top two teams in the running to sign Oden, and Oden hopes to meet with the Heat in the next week.
Oden told reporters he is currently focused on his knee but and not worried much about where he will end up.
“I don’t know when, but I’m taking this year off,” he said. “I’ll play next year.”
Mike Conley, Oden’s agent, said that Oden may sign with a team before the end of the season for rehabilitation purposes and relationship building and that Oden is also looking into the Boston Celtics.
Fox Sports Florida analyzed the probability of the Heat signing Oden, considering that the Heat would need an open roster spot to do so. The Heat has 14 players with guaranteed deals, currently and will still have an open spot if the team does not sign Chris Anderson for the rest of the season. If the Heat does, it could still waive or trade a player before Feb. 21.
Conley noted that the Cavaliers may have appeal to Oden because of the team’s proximity to his school, Ohio State.
“I’m just getting my knee ready so when things do happen, I’ll be ready to play next year,” Oden said. “I’m still in the rehab process, but I’m taking it slow. I could possibly be playing at this point, but I’ve done that before, and I got injured before, so I’d rather take everything I am doing slow.”