Multiple reports on Friday night confirmed that the Miami Heat have signed the oft-injured Greg Oden to a two-year deal. Year two of the contract is a player option.
Oden, who was drafted No. 1 overall in 2007 by the Portland Trailblazers, never developed into the dominant center many believed he would be in the NBA. Towering at seven feet, the Ohio State product has suffered through five knee surgeries over the course of his career.
The debate leading up to the 2007 draft was whether Oden or Kevin Durant should go No. 1 to the Blazers. Portland went with Oden and Seattle (now Oklahoma City) took Durant No. 2. The 2007 draft is reminiscent of when Portland drafted Sam Bowie in 1984 with the second overall pick, while Michael Jordan fell in the laps of Chicago Bulls executives with the third pick.
Miami seemed to be the frontrunner to land Oden this offseason, and the final stages of recruitment from LeBron James and coach Erik Spoelstra that convinced Oden to sign.
The San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans and Atlanta Hawks were also involved in the chase for Oden.
Oden said he simply wants to be able to play the game again and “finish the season healthy.” He also stated he isn’t necessarily 100 percent yet, and that he “(still has) a lot of work to do,” but Miami officials know what is best for him. Training staff members for the Heat will monitor his medical plans and workouts.
It is still unclear if Oden will be available at the beginning of the upcoming season. Oden last played in an NBA game on December 5, 2009.