The Miami Heat’s amnesty of fan-favorite Mike Miller could be part one of a two-part move that involves center Greg Oden.
According to Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida, Oden’s agent Mike Conley said the two sides have reopened talks about his client joining the two-time champs.
Oden remains very interested in the Heat, but Conley wouldn’t go so far as to say they are the frontrunner. Other teams in the mix include San Antonio, Dallas, New Orleans and Sacramento.
Conley said he has had continued dealings since last weekend with Riley.
“We’ve texted back and forth,” the agent said. “I’ve also talked to Andy (Elisburg, a Miami executive and the team’s salary-cap expert).”
Conley also told Tomasson that he believed the amnesty of Miller helps their chances of signing Oden. Oden is also considering the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans.
The Heat have the mid-level exception available but local sentiment is that the team would be reluctant to use it on Oden after not offering it to Chris Andersen, who resigned for little more than he was making last season.
Pat Riley would rather use the MLE on a young wing player that could step up in the future after the departures of Ray Allen and Shane Battier.
But even a minimum offer could be hard to decline for Oden, who is hoping to make a come back from injury. Oden would join a championship team with an obviously strong locker room. Erik Spoelstra likes to rotate his bigs a lot, so Oden would find playing time if fit to take the court.
Not to mention that Riley has experience “resurrecting” careers of oft-injured bigs like Kurt Thomas and Zydrunus Ilgauskas.