The 2-time defending NBA Champions have agreed to a deal with former #1 overall pick Greg Oden. The Heat agree to a minimum of 2-years with a player option in the 2nd year. Heat President Pat Riley has been actively recruiting Oden to Miami since before the end of last season. Oden hasn’t played a game in three years, and has only played 82 games in six years. The Heat made their offer very clear when they stated he would not be expected to come in and contribute right away. Oden made his decision to join the Heat based on that part of the offer.
Miami supplies a stable structure, winning environment, and will allow Oden the time to get himself prepared for the rigors of the NBA. The Heat will need a structured and methodical plan in place to keep Oden on their bench and out of the hospital. They will look to bring him along slowly in their system and develop him into a strong defensive presence. During his brief stint in Portland, Oden averaged 11.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game for the Trail Blazers. The major concern surrounding his play on the court was his demonstrative way of defending his opponents. Oden fouled his opposition four times in 23 minutes of game action, an alarming rate for any player.
Since the Heat will have most of their championship team returning, there is no pressure for Oden. He gets the job, the contract, and the care he needs to rehabilitate himself into game-ready shape. Along with the care he will need off the court, the Heat coaching staff will also have to teach him to play smarter basketball. The fouls Oden racked up during his time in Portland could physically take a toll on him if he continues the same trend in Miami. At 25, Oden has already had three separate microfracture surgeries and enough set-backs to plague him for the past four years.
Miami gets an added presence inside, and Oden gets to move to South Beach. That doesn’t sound like such a bad deal to me. The Heat will really be the ones smiling if they can get some sort of production out of their investment. When will he actually hit the floor is what I would like to know. I would like to be reassured there is a goal set in place and Miami is not just blindly throwing money at him. Only time will tell if this experiment will really benefit the Heat, but at least Oden gets another chance at his dream.