Ford: Blazers C Greg Oden Is No. 8 Free Agent; Spears: Oden Not In Top 15

Chad Ford of ESPN.com ranks Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden as the No. 8 free agent on the market.

Greg Oden, C, Blazers (R)

Oden is a huge question mark. If he can ever get healthy -- and it's a huge if at this point -- he still has time to become a dominant NBA big man (he's just 23 years old). But whoever signs him to a contract will do so without having seen him play for more than a year and a half. Is any team, including Portland, willing to take that risk?

The Blazers will probably take a wait-and-see approach. If someone offers him a reasonable offer sheet, they'll match. If not, Portland will probably be fine with him taking its $8 million qualifying offer and figuring it out next summer.

Here are the teams Ford projects to have cap room to chase major free agents.

The Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings and New Jersey Nets should therefore be the big players in the free agent market with more than $20 million of cap space each. The Denver Nuggets could also have more than $20 million in room, if they can't re-sign Nene. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Clippers and New Orleans Hornets should have more than $10 million to spend. And, if the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons use their amnesty waiver, they too could have significant room under the cap.

Despite being ranked No. 8 overall, there are four centers ranked ahead of Oden: Nene Hilario, Tyson Chandler, Marc Gasol and DeAndre Jordan.

An ESPN.com roundtable discussed the offers they would make to Oden, which included: no offer, 1 year at $8.8 million, 2 years at $15 million, 3 years at $20 million and 4 years at $24 million. 

Update: Meanwhile, Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports doesn't have Oden listed in his top-15 free agents and doesn't include him in his "other notable free agents" list either.

Oden reportedly has not been cleared to return to basketball activities and has "no hard timeline" for a return to the court. The Blazers tendered him an $8.8 million Qualifying Offer back in June, making him a restricted free agent.

Ford also writes that he believes Blazers guard Brandon Roy is one of five "likely" Amnesty Clause  cut candidates around the league. More Roy Amnesty Clause chatter here.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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