Greg Oden, the 2007 No. 1 NBA draft pick who has not played since December 2009, plans to make a comeback to the league next season. Another comeback, that is.
Not only that, but multiple teams have expressed interest in the 7-foot center from Ohio State, including the champion Miami Heat, according to ESPN. That speaks more to the deficiency in big-man NBA talent than anything else.
Oden had his latest knee surgery about a year ago, but had not recovered and “retired.” ESPN reported that more than one team has designs on Oden and would sign him 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.
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, according to sources, is planning to take no chances at a derailment before he really gets started. So, he will 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 have sought a center for three years and 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.
In his parts of two seasons in Portland, Oden averaged 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds.
Sources said the Heat have been monitoring Oden, who is taking classes at Ohio State.