Over on NBA.com, David Aldridge has a few lengthy, must-read Portland Trail Blazers related essays today, including a discussion of what center Greg Oden is worth...
Even though Blazers president Larry Miller said in a conference call with Portland reporters Thursday that the Blazers plan to give Oden a qualifying offer next summer at $8.8 million to keep him from becoming an unrestricted free agent, there is almost no one around the league who believes that. Most expect the Blazers will ultimately let Oden test the waters, figuring nobody will offer him anything near that $8.8 million. That was the consensus from a bunch of executives over the weekend, who saw Portland decline to give Oden an extension by the Nov. 1 deadline.
I heard one year for $4-5 million. I heard the bi-annual exception, which was $2.08 million this season. I heard "three years, $15 million, with an exclusion (for) the knee," as one GM texted Thursday. I heard an incentive-laden contract that could, potentially, approach the mid-level exception. A couple of teams said it was too early to make a judgment on Oden; a couple others said there was no way they'd make him an offer, given his physical state. No one came close to $8.8 million.
Among the many unresolved issues, of course, is what the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will look like, and what teams will be able to offer players in Oden's category, whether it's restricted or unrestricted. If there's a lockout, no one would be able to negotiate with him or his agent about a new contract -- including Portland. Nor could Oden practice at the Blazers' facility. (Less certain is whether he'd be allowed to rehab there; that's a murkier area that might have to be worked out between the league and the Players' Association with specific language.)
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter