Sports Out West

Greg Oden to meet with Heat, nears final decision

Greg Oden

Free agent center Greg Oden is set to work out this week for three teams as he nears a decision on where he will begin his comeback to the NBA, according to ESPN.com.

Representatives from the Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings will be present during Oden’s workout this week.  Last week, the 25-year-old met with representatives from the Kings and the Dallas Mavericks in Las Vegas. He also had arranged a meeting with the Pelicans but it has been rescheduled for this week.

Another team that is said to be  interested in the former Trail Blazer is the San Antonio Spurs, who had met with Oden last month. Although representatives from the Spurs will not be present at the 7-footer’s workout, the team is regarded as one of the front-runners to land him.

The Heat have been considered a potential home for the 25-year old’s services for several months now after team president Pat Riley held a two-day visit with the big man in late January.

The Pelicans are said to have built their pitch around his familiarity with head coach Monty Williams, who was a former Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach when Oden was on the team, and on the idea that New Orleans would provide the big man a chance to make his comeback without the pressures from the media spotlight.

Since being selected with the first overall pick by the Portland Trailblazers in the 2007 NBA draft, Oden has had an injury plagued NBA career that has allowed him to play only 82 games in his two official seasons in the league. In the offseason preceding his rookie year, he underwent microfracture surgery to repair his right knee which forced him to miss the entire season.

In the Trail Blazers’ opening game in the following season, he injured his right foot against the Los Angeles Lakers which required him to miss two weeks. He would miss three weeks later on that year when he chipped his left patella after bumping knees with Corey Maggette in a game against the Golden State Warriors.

Oden began to show his potential in the 2009-10 season by averaging 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 23.9 minutes per game until the injury bug hit once again when he required season-ending surgery to repair a severe fracture in his left patella that he suffered in the 22nd game of the year.

As he was rehabbing from his latest surgery to make a return in the 2011-12 season, he suffered another setback that pushed his return date further back. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in February 2012 and 17 days later he had the same procedure done to his right knee to repair damage caused by the previous surgery. The following month Oden was waived by the Trail Blazers.

In his two-year career, Oden has averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 22.1 minutes per game.

 

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia is a sports journalist from Southern California. He was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.