Greg Oden Joins LeBron and the Heat in South Beach

Greg Oden will play for the Miami Heat this upcoming season, ending an NBA hiatus that has been ongoing since Dec. 5, 2009. His contract is for one year with a player option for a second.

Many speculated that Oden would go to the Heat because of their back-to-back championships, but it turns out that having the option to work himself back slowly into play was the main reason the ball club was so attractive to him.

Oden said it was a “big deciding factor” that Heat officials made it clear that he “wouldn’t be needed as much early in the season,” as he works his way back from more than three years out of the league.

The 25-year-old Oden was originally selected with the first overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft, but a myriad of injuries forced an early exit from the league.

He hasn’t played in the regular season since 2009, but the Portland Trail Blazers kept him on their roster until the end of the 2011-12 season with hopes that his injury list would stop growing.

It will be interesting to see how Oden will fit into the mix since Miami has not had a good big man on the team since Shaquille O’Neal.

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