Cleveland, Miami rev interest in Oden
by Associated Press, USA TODAY
CLEVELAND — Greg Oden’s next comeback could be with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Or perhaps the Miami Heat
A person with knowledge of Cleveland’s interest said the team is exploring the possibility of signing the 7-foot center, the former No. 1 overall pick whose NBA career has been sabotaged by injuries — and who was taken ahead of Kevin Durant in the 2007 draft.
The Cavs are doing their due diligence while looking at Oden, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the team’s interest is contingent upon the center’s health.
CBSSports.com first reported the Cavs and Heat were leading the pursuit of Oden, who hasn’t played since 2009 and has undergone three microfracture knee surgeries – two on his left knee.
Before watching No. 11 Ohio State’s 58-49 win against Wisconsin on Tuesday in Columbus, Oden — who played at Ohio State — said he hopes to be healthy enough to take another shot at pro ball.
“I don’t know when, but I’m taking this year off. I’ll play next year,” said Oden, who led the Buckeyes to the Final Four as a freshman in 2007.
Oden’s agent, Mike Conley Sr., could not be reached for comment.
Oden hasn’t played in the NBA since Dec. 5, 2009. CBSSports.com reported that Oden hopes to visit with the Heat next week and meet with club president Pat Riley.
The Cavaliers could offer up to $4 million, while the Heat would probably be offering the minimum salary.
A defensive force during his one college season, Oden was the first player taken in the 2007 draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, who chose the soft-spoken big man over All-Star Durant.
Oden was limited to just 82 games with the Trail Blazers, averaging 9.2 points and 7.3 rebounds. His last operation was almost a year ago.
Portland waived Oden last March, ending a troubled five-year run with a player who entered the league with superstar potential.
Any team that signs the 25-year-old Oden would be taking a risk. But for a rebuilding team like the Cavs, who are looking to … [For more on Report: Cleveland Cavs, Miami Heat rev interest in Oden, click here.]