Greg Oden is set to end his four-year hiatus from the NBA and officially sign with a team at some point next week, according to reports.
The 25-year-old free agent center is set to pick his landing spot between Sacramento, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, New Orleans and San Antonio. All indications are that the Heat and Spurs are the frontrunners at the moment. But why?
If Oden really wants to resurrect his career, shouldn’t he choose a team where he’ll see the court and actually get minutes? Maybe, but easing him back in may be the better option, and it appears that Oden agrees.
I agree, as well.
But for the sake of argument, let’s handicap (no pun intended) his decision.
Depth Chart: DeMarcus Cousins, Cole Aldrich
This wouldn’t be a bad spot for Oden. He would probably be splitting second team minutes with Aldrich, and sitting behind Cousins isn’t all that bad (assuming he’s matured). I’m really high on Cousins and maybe Oden would fit in that spot as a backup. I don’t love it, but it makes some sense for Oden, I guess.
CONFIDENCE LEVEL: 6%
Depth Chart: Al Horford, Elton Brand, Mike Muscala
I wouldn’t understand him signing with the Hawks, in all honesty. The Hawks are going to get rid of Horford in the next year or so, and with only Brand and/or Millsap (not really centers) behind him, it would force Oden into an uncomfortable spot. The last thing Oden needs is to rush this whole experiment. I’m not sure what kind of ties Oden has to Atlanta, but this can’t be an emotional decision.
CONFIDENCE LEVEL: 7%
Depth Chart: Chris Bosh, Chris Anderson, Joel Anthony
The Heat are the wildcard here, for more than one reason. It could go two ways, if Oden elects to sign witht the defending champs. The Heat have the ability to play small ball. One could say that they’ve won two championships by doing that. Also, Eric Spoelstra won’t play Oden unless he’s absolutely sure he will help, and not hurt. If Oden is healthy, again that’s a big if, he could really help this team. Not as a starter, or even a sixth man, but as a big body. The Heat have needed that for years. Anderson provided that last season, at times, but adding another one wouldn’t hurt. The downside, however, is that it could be difficult for Oden to find minutes in South Beach. Unless, of course, he knows he’s healthy and can stay that way by contributing right away.
CONFIDENCE LEVEL: 36%
Depth Chart: Samuel Dalembert, Brandan Wright
I’m not sure the Mavs are still in this race, after recently signing Samuel Dalembert. It has also been reported that they plan (or hope) on re-signing recently released center Bernard James. I don’t think the Mavs would want to carry four centers on their roster, it’s not very common. Nevertheless, Oden wouldn’t be the worst pickup here, assuming James isn’t re-signed. The Mavs are notorious for their constant musical chairs of the center position, so they wouldn’t put too much of a load on Oden if he would sign here. Not the worst idea. Then again, if they do sign Oden, they’re going to want to keep that extra center around just in case.
CONFIDENCE LEVEL: 11%
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
Depth Chart: Anthony Davis, Jason Smith, Greg Stiemsma
Again, a crowded frontline isn’t always bad. Then again, the Pelicans already have four “centers” on their roster. I’m not sure if the Pelicans are ready to commit to the center position that much. Especially, the uncertainty that a Greg Oden would bring. We forget that Oden is still young, and would fit right in with what the Pelicans are doing (YOUNG TALENT). There’s no question, that’s what’s attracting Oden.
CONFIDENCE LEVEL: 14%
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Depth Chart: Tiago Splitter/Tim Duncan, Jeff Pendergraph/Matt Bonner
The Spurs are co-favorites in the Oden sweepstakes, along with the Miami Heat. They should be. In my opinion, this is where he should land. He would be able to learn behind Tim Duncan and would be protected, minutes-wise, by Tiago Splitter, Jeff Pendergraph and Matt Bonner. Not to mention playing for a great coach like Gregg Popovich. Also, Oden would stay out of the limelight, allowing him to slowly make the transition back into the league. Not really sure Miami will allow him to do that. With that said, that doesn’t mean this will be his destination.
CONFIDENCE LEVEL: 26%
There is going to be pros and cons to any decision he chooses, whether it be San Antonio, Miami or any other spot. My gut tells me he’s choosing Miami. We should all find out next week.