Sports Out West

Greg Oden comeback? Former No. 1 pick eyes NBA return

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The Miami Heat have kept their eyes on Greg Oden since  the big man underwent his third knee surgery last year, and now they appear to be the frontrunner to sign him to a multi-year contract, ESPN.com reported on Thursday

That deal would keep him inactive for the remainder of this season, allow him to get fully healthy and be ready for training camp come October, according to the report. 

It wasn’t long ago that the former No. 1 overall pick was tabbed to take the Portland Trail Blazers to a status among the NBA’s most elite teams, but injuries forced him out of the game before he ever got started. Now, after rehabbing for a year and taking classes at Ohio State, he is ready to give it a shot once again, and teams are interested. Of course, the Blazers aren’t one of them. 

There are some challenges for Miami, who desperately need help inside, to sign Oden.

First, they have to consider that their payroll next season will be close to $90 million. The implications of that alone are that the new, more severe luxury tax penalties set to begin could make that a bad return on investment considering the long-term implications. Next, despite not playing since Dec. 5, 2009, Oden’s health is an obvious major question mark. 

Even if he sits out the rest of this season and the summer league as planned, he’s still one misstep away from being done forever, and that’s a lot to think about for the Heat. 

For more on the Trail Blazers, check out Sports Out West’s Blazers’ hub

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.