Talking with reporters at the end of the season, Erik Spoelstra called Greg Oden one of the season’s “biggest success stories,” but that didn’t guarantee the comeback center a spot on the roster for another year.
“I think that was a remarkable comeback, and it’s only the first step. So he’ll have a very committed summer again and then we’ll see where he’s able to take his career from here,” Spoelstra said. “We couldn’t be happier for him.”
Since limping out of the league in 2010, Oden worked to get back in. He rehabbed and, even though, he couldn’t take the court on a consistent basis, stuck on a Heat roster destined for the NBA Finals (that’s either a mistake by Miami or a credit to Oden’s hard work, but I’ll pass on that argument).
The Heat signed Oden, along with Michael Beasley, with its two open roster spots last season. The idea was that the team was deep enough to afford a couple of boom-or-bust projects. Unfortunately, both busted and the team was without the depth and young legs it needed to keep up with the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals.
Now the Heat have three spots, and will have the lot of NBA Summer Leaguers and unsigned free agents to choose from. Oden, along with the likes of Emeka Okafor (who is also struggling with injuries) and other minor role players such as Ryan Hollins, Jermaine O’Neal and Greg Stiemsma remain available, but the former No. 1-overall pick has the most potential.
Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio has the latest regarding Oden.
It is believed that free-agent center Greg Oden has spoken with [LeBron] James, or the Cavs, or possibly both. The Cavs are said to have an interest in the former No. 1 overall draft pick (2007), but it is not known if they have contacted him or plan to at any time.
Sounds like a long shot, and if both Pat Riley and LeGeneral Manager James don’t sign Oden after personally watching him for a season, what team would?
The Heat are in an interesting position going into the 2014-15 season. Having lost LeBron, one could argue the team is in Nothing To Lose Mode and can afford to give Oden another shot. Oden supporters could also use the fact that playing Oden would help move Neu Alpha Dog Chris Bosh to power forward. However, in 145 minutes played together in 20 games, Bosh and Oden were outscored by a rate of 2.1 points every 100 possessions, according to NBA.com statistics. It’s a small sample size, but Oden had a hard time competing for rebounds and defending the paint. That didn’t do much to help relieve Bosh of his big boy duties.
Other than odds, I have no reason to doubt Oden, who has been working out in Ohio this summer. To write another chapter in his success story, he’ll have to prove that he’s taken another step.