It’s looking more and more likely that the former number one overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft will be making his home with the Cleveland Cavaliers soon enough.
Greg Oden, who attended the Cavaliers game on Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies (as a guest of his close friend and Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley Jr.), has been heavily linked to Cleveland since expressing interest of returning to the league after a three-year absence.
Since being drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers back in 07, Oden has played just 82 games, which is the equivalent of one full season. Constant knee issues and surgeries (three microfracture, two on his left knee), have kept Greg on the sidelines, derailing what could have been a very promising and successful NBA career.
He averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks over that span.
The Cavaliers were rumored to have offered Oden a two-year deal with a team option for a third that would begin this season. In an effort to continue his rehabilitation and allow himself to have more options during the summer, Greg ultimately turned it down.
Although a deal wasn’t struck, I believe it’s only a matter of time before Greg Oden and Cleveland reach an agreement that will have him wearing the red, white and gold for the foreseeable future.
It’s a perfect fit for both sides.
Oden took the Ohio State Buckeyes to the 2007 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship game, only to lose to the Florida Gators. He already has a storied history in the state, so there’s an obvious connection/selling-point right there.
It should also be noted that Greg currently lives in Ohio, as well.
“I live in Ohio. It’s home now,” Oden said. (Ohio.com)
Mike Conley Jr. believes Cleveland is the absolute best place for his friend Greg to be.
“He loves Cleveland, loves the state of Ohio. He lives in Columbus and he’d like to be as close to home as possible, so what better place than Cleveland? I think that’d be a great spot for him. Hopefully something will work out.”
“They have a great organization and I really do think they’re up and coming.”
It’s a shame that Greg Oden never panned out as that “once in a lifetime” center that many predicted he would be, but despite the numerous roadblocks that have prevented him from staying healthy and establishing himself in the league, I still find it very encouraging to see him continue his rehab in hopes of returning to the sport he loves so dear.
Cleveland would afford him the opportunity to join a team that’s not only on the rise in the Eastern Conference, but could realistically give him some steady minutes at the five spot, if he can prove he’s healthy enough to have them.
To expect greatness right off the bat would be foolish. This is a player who has been under the knife more than he’s been on the court.
He’s never going to be a star, but he could certainly become a serviceable rotation center in the NBA.
There are plenty of question marks surrounding Cleveland’s many bigs (Anderson Varejao, Tyler Zeller, Tristan Thompson, Marreese Speights), so at the very least, Oden could provide some insurance at the position, if the team decides to part ways with one or two of those guys (Varejao always seems to be on the chopping block).
Cleveland and Oden? I love it.