Trevor Zickgraf of ProjectSpurs.com writes that the San Antonio Spurs should consider making an offer to Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden, who is set to be a restricted free agent whenever the NBA gets its spit together.
If you're an Oden optimist, you have good reason to think Oden might be the bargain big man of this offseason. While the Trailblazers made Oden the $8.8 million qualifying offer, would they match anyone offering him a long term deal? If you're a contender looking for some depth, is it worth the risk to offer Oden the mid-level exception for three seasons? Teams like San Antonio, Miami and Oklahoma City (Durant andOden, what a great story that would be!) would love the depth inside.
For a team like the San Antonio Spurs, a guy like Oden might be worth the risk. If you look at what a guy like Tyson Chandler did for Dallas last season, it's easy to see what a game changer a defensive anchor can be. Maybe Oden doesn't become this dynamic, game changing center, but what if he becomes a 3rd big man like Antonio McDyess became once he got healthy and signed with Detroit. At $5 million a year, that's a great option for team like the Spurs, or the Heat or the Thunder or even a team like New Orleans, who could use the size even if they bring back David West. Even if Oden injures himself again, the new CBA is reportedly going to have a stretch exception, which allows a team to waive a guy and stretch his payments over a number of years.
There's obviously a risk offering a multi-year contract to a guy like Oden, but the new CBA looks like it minimizes those risks, so why not offer him a three year deal. Maybe Portland matches the contract and then you go looking for another big. But if they don't, and Oden's knees are finally healed and stronger than before, well then maybe you got a game changing center. The point is the center/power forward market is incredibly thin this season, so this might be the year a team looking for some depth, you might be more content offering Oden $15-$20 million over three years instead of offering Aaron Gray $9-$12 million over the same amount of time.
Last week, Tom Ziller of SacTownRoyalty.com suggested that the Sacramento Kings should offer Oden up to $30 million.
Also last week, Oden noted on Facebook that he is once again able to run, but later deleted the message.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter