On Friday night, Greg Oden, the former No.1 overall pick of the Portland Trail Blazers, made his long-awaited decision of where he is going to play next season. He told ESPN.com that he will be playing for the Miami Heat and this not only makes the Heat better in the short term, but it makes them better on the defensive end because now they have a rim protector.
As many people say, now the Heat have their big man to defend and take Indiana Pacers big man Roy Hibbert out of his game, because we all know what the Pacers big men did to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. I think the Heat signing Oden will be a huge reward as they will not be signing him to a big contract at all. Supposedly, sources close to the process say that Oden will sign a two-year deal at the league minimum, with a player option for the second year.
The contract breaks down like this according to ESPN.com, Oden will make $1.03 million in the first year of the contract and then in the second year, if he picks up the option, he will be making $1.14 million. So Oden will make a nice bit of change and for the Miami Heat’s wallet it doesn’t break the bank. If he plays well enough, he will supplant Juwan Howard‘s spot on the roster with no problem.
Greg Oden’s reported contract is not the only reason he will be a huge reward. Another reason is that he does not have to play right away. Right now for Oden just to be able to sign with a team is incredible enough in it’s own right, but now since he is with the Heat he can take his time and play when he is ready. Remember in his career so far, Oden has only played in 82 games–that is equivalent to just one NBA season. As he said in a Friday night interview, “When I had a conversation with Coach [Erik] Spoelstra and hearing how much he knew about the training stuff that I was already doing, it kind of made me feel like they know what’s best for me.”
With that being said, Oden feels like he is in good hands and him being comfortable and knowing that the spotlight is not going to be on him is probably for the best. If you don’t remember, Oden in has averaged 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in his career. If the Heat can get that from him whenever he plays, that is a win in their column because adding him with Chris Andersen and Udonis Haslem makes their bench that much better.
A lineup of Greg Oden, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers looks really scary defensively and can possibly give teams like the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers problems. Oden will not be able to take dominant players such as Joakim Noah, Tyson Chandler, Brook Lopez and Roy Hibbert out their games, but he can give them problems because he is a big guy already at 275 pounds and looking to slim down a little bit more.
If Oden can help this Heat team playing in 10-15 minutes spurts when he comes back fully ready then you know they might just three peat because all they were missing was a dominant center for the longest time.
Here is a video highlight of Greg Oden back in the 2007 NBA Summer League: