Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat have little room to maneuver with the league’s punitive luxury tax, but the team is still in need of a big man who can help crash the boards in a few minutes of action per night.
But is Greg Oden going to be that player for the Heat?
According to ESPN.com, Oden is nearing a decision on which team to sign with for the upcoming season. The 7-foot center has only played 82 career games since being selected first overall by the Portland Trailblazers in the 2007 NBA Draft.
Oden has battled repeat knee injuries and has gone through three microfracture surgeries since fracturing his kneecap in December 2009. Microfracture surgery looks to repair cartilage damage by creating tiny breaks in the bone near the cartilage to spur cartilage growth.
It’s become a common procedure amongst athletes, but most don’t go through three different sessions of the surgery.
Oden, if healthy and able to play 10-12 minutes a game, would be a huge upgrade for the Heat. There aren’t many 7’, 285 pound players who can move on a basketball court. If Oden’s knees are good enough to play the season, the Heat would be a virtual lock to get to the NBA Finals again.
But, those knees are a big IF right now. Still, for the Heat it’s a low-risk, high-reward proposition.
If Oden signs with Miami, he doesn’t have to start and can continue to rehab and progress at a slow pace and play when he’s ready, especially deeper into the season and towards the playoffs.
If his knees won’t hold up and he flames out; he’s an end of the roster player who the Heat swung on and missed, similar to Eddy Curry.
Oden averages 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game for his career.