There was no Jim Gray, no Boys and Girls Club and no theatrics. Still, the answer was South Beach.
No, not LeBron James, but Greg Oden.
Another No. 1 pick. However, the one notorious for NOT living up to expectations. Greg Oden.
We know that Oden hasn’t played in years. Three seasons to be exact. He hasn’t even played on full season. Tally the games he has played in two injury-riddled seasons and just barely does it reach 82.
So how should the Heat feel by this signing? I’m not sure.
Right now — assuming Oden is healthy — I like the signing. Like, really like it. When was the last time the “Big Three” played with a pure center since signing with Miami? Never. If, and I know that’s a big if, he can stay healthy that is exactly what Oden is. A pure center.
That is looking down the road, though. Way down the road. The reports say that he is “coming around“.
Oden said it was a “big deciding factor” that Heat officials made it clear to him 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.
That, according to an NBC Sports report.
If that’s any indication, it’s that the Heat believe what we all believe. That this is going to be a process. We thought it, the Heat thought it and Oden confirmed it.
At about $1 million per season, that’s practically a no-risk deal.
Conversely, is it going to be just a waste of a roster spot?
Let’s say Oden doesn’t play right away. Let’s say he’s restricted in training camp, and still doesn’t get playing time by, let’s say, Christmas. Does he stick? Couple that with the Heat beginning to struggle with size. What happens next?
Of course, that is the Heat’s “worst case scenario”. It would be interesting to see what does the Heat do, if they fall into that situation.
But with that said, what is the “best case scenario” for the Oden-Heat marriage?
Well in the eyes of Oden, it’s simple.
“I want to be able to finish the season healthy. [After] everything I’ve been through, I want to be able to say I played the game and I had no problems.” (ESPN)
The Heat are probably hoping he can be a Žydrūnas Ilgauskas. Overcome early career injuries to become a solid, contributing factor on a contender. That may not happen right away, but that has to be the Heat’s “best case scenario” at some point this season.
And by “contributing factor”, that could very well mean 10 to 15 minutes per game.
Miami doesn’t need Ohio State phoneme Greg Oden. They’re not expecting it, nor asking for it. They just need something between average and solid.
Indiana and Brooklyn got much, much better this offseason. They aren’t going anywhere. This is the only move the Heat have made this offseason. They really need it to turn into a home run, much like most of Pat Riley’s moves have been lately.
The Heat got better by signing Greg Oden. Time will tell just how much, though.