Former Portland Trail Blazers No. 1 pick Greg Oden is getting close to resuming his basketball career, and the reigning champion Miami Heat may be his next destination.
According to Fox Sports Florida, the Heat are eyeing Oden to fill their biggest deficiency on the inside. His agent, Mike Conley, said via a phone interview with the publication that he plans to speak with the Heat when free agency begins on July 1. Knee issues have kept Oden off the court since 2009, when he last played for the Blazers. Miami could be the perfect place for him.
“The Heat need some size, that’s not a secret,” Conley told Fox Sports Florida. “Whether it’s in a backup role or whatever, he could help them. I know they’re interested in him and he’s interested in them.”
The Heat need size desperately in order to successfully defend their title — they were last in the league in rebounding and 26th in offensive rebound percentage. In the playoffs in 2013, they struggled to keep opponents out of the paint and gave up easy baskets inside while struggling to rebound with any consistency. Roy Hibbert in particular gave them fits and proved difficult for them to defend, often having his way with them in the paint.
Oden would fill the void in the rebounding department with relative ease. In 82 career NBA games, he averaged 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in just 22 minutes. If he can somehow stay healthy and contribute in that capacity, he may be the ideal role player.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, Charlotte Bobcats, Boston Celtics and and San Antonio Spurs are also reported to have interest in the former Ohio State star.
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