FanPost

Let Greg Oden become a restricted free-agent

 

This isn't an argument to get rid of Greg Oden, but I believe the Blazers are best served by not picking up the team-option this summer on Greg Oden.  It's obvious that next year we will be dealing with a rehabbing Greg Oden that probably won't be up to speed until late in the season at best.  So, the Blazer's won't be getting much value from his playing.  The ideal contract for the Blazer's really want is a 2 or 3 year deal, so they can get a chance to evaluate him fully while moving on.  

Let's say Greg is confident in his rehab and thinks he's going to be a decent player.  There's no reason for Greg to sign any extension with Portland next year before he hit's unrestricted free-agency next summer.  So if Portland picks up the team-option on  Greg  they are pretty much guaranteed that they will be in a bidding war after a year.  If they let Greg go to restricted free-agency, odds are they will either get to match a deal that would fit what they are looking for or Greg will get no offers.  There are very few teams that are going to be willing to risk going for broke on Greg with a long term deal.  Any teams that make an offer are going to make something similar to what Portland wants, a 2-3 year deal with team-options and whatever incentives they can structure in so if Greg washes out they don't lose much cap flexibility.  Very few teams are in good enough financial shape that they can offer a deal which would potentially hurt them if Greg continues having trouble with injuries.  And, there are very few poison-pills that Paul Allen can't swallow.

It's a gamble, but a very small gamble and certainly less of a gamble than if they let Greg become an unrestricted free-agent.  There are very few scenarios where extending Greg doesn't either lead us to losing Greg in free-agency or giving him a max-contract(whether or not he's fully recovered).  At best we extend Greg and it becomes apparent he's never going to play again and we only lose one years worth of money.  At worst we take the team-option on Greg, he shows flashes of brilliance, and we end up in a bidding war whether or not we know what kind of player he will be long term.

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