May 30, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat center Greg Oden (middle) hoists the conference championship trophy after defeating the Indiana Pacers in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat: Bye-Bye, Greg Oden

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To say Greg Oden has had a troubled time in the NBA would be an understatement. The top overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft has had to watch his fellow draft mates flourish into stars while he’s been constantly been under the knife.

As a result he went through a dark period in his career and took to the bottle in order to find some comfort.

Mar 24, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat center Greg Oden (20) fouls Portland Trail Blazers forward Dorell Wright (1) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 93-91. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 24, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat center Greg Oden (20) fouls Portland Trail Blazers forward Dorell Wright (1) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 93-91. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Nonetheless, he did managed to get himself in good enough shape to garner interest from several teams willing to give him a second chance after the Portland Trail Blazers let him go, with the Miami Heat beating the rest of the field for his signature. Although, a year later, looks like his time in South Beach has come to an unceremonious end.

Per Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson:

“The Heat so far have shown little interest in retaining Greg Oden. They will likely add another veteran center at the minimum to replace him, but it has to be someone who’s content with not playing much. (Barring injury or foul trouble, it’s hard to see many minutes available, with Chris Bosh and Chris Andersen sharing virtually all the time at center; and Josh McRoberts, Udonis Haslem, Birdman and occasionally Danny Granger at power forward.)

“Among those still available: Elton Brand, Andray Blatche (Heat has avoided him before because of maturity, behavior issues), Charlie Villanueva, Ryan Hollins, Ekpe Udoh, Byron Mullins, Greg Stiesma and Andrew Bynum (who can’t stay healthy).”

Then again that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. After all, Oden took part in just 23games last year and averaged 2.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.6 blocks per game. Although it is worth mentioning that the regular season wasn’t the main reason Miami aggressively pursued him.

Truth be told, that was move prompted by the fear incited by Roy Hibbert after he dominated Miami during the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals. And next to Andrew Bynum, Oden was probably the best free agent available to even bother the 7’2” Hibbert with his size – plus he was a heck of a lot cheaper than Bynum who signed for an incentive-laden two-year, $24 million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Unfortunately that “showdown” didn’t happen since Hibbert all but disappeared in the postseason. Therefore Oden wasn’t really needed – which is why he played just seven minutes worth of Playoff basketball for Miami.

His arrest didn’t help matters either.

According to reports, Oden was taken into custody and charged with battery having allegedly punched his ex-girlfriend in the face. He was released on a $10,000 bond and is yet to be charged, but the allegation alone is all it takes to damage his reputation, and consequently, his career. It’s made even worse when you also don’t have the production on the court to make executives think twice.

Still, maybe there’s an organisation out there willing to take a gamble on him (and his knees). The Houston Rockets could use some muscle at center behind Dwight Howard, following Omer Asik’s trade. Or even the Cleveland Cavaliers, since they only have Anderson Varejao (injury prone) and Brendan Haywood (missed the 2012-13 season with a stress fracture in his left foot and is aging somewhat) at center – although they do have a few guys who can slide over from the power forward spot.

Now that the Miami Heat chapter of his career is done, one has to wonder what’s next for the big fella. One thing is for sure: his basketball options are a now very limited. If all else fails, maybe he could take a stab at a UFC/boxing career. Perhaps even a career in porn. People from the industry have already offered when a picture of him naked popped up on the Internet.

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Tags: Greg Oden Miami Heat

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