Reports: Talk Of An NBA Comeback For Former Blazers C Greg Oden Picks Up Steam

Jonathan Daniel

Reports concerning a possible Greg Oden comeback to the NBA continued this week.

This week has seen significant chatter on a possible NBA comeback for former Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers were the "leaders" to sign Oden, who was released by the Blazers last season following multiple knee surgeries.

Chris Broussard of ESPN.com reports...

San Antonio, New Orleans, Charlotte, Indiana and Dallas have been monitoring the rehab of Greg Oden and are in the running for his services, sources said Wednesday.

...

While most clubs are likely to offer Oden the league's minimum salary, clubs such as Cleveland, New Orleans and Charlotte could offer a much larger payday.

Doug Lesmerises of the Plain Dealer reports...

Asked if he was playing at all, Oden said, "I'm just getting my knee ready so when things do happen I'll be ready to play next year.

"I'm still in the rehab process, but I'm it taking slow. I could possibly be playing at this point, but I've done that before and I got injured before, so I'd rather take everything I am doing slow. Right now I'm just doing strength stuff with my knees."

He said he was confident he would return to the NBA.

"I like how my knee is going, the way it's going," he said. "I still like the time I'm taking, just to make sure nothing happens. You can't predict the future. But if it doesn't happen, I'm happy."

The Associated Press reports...

A person with knowledge of Cleveland's interest said the team is exploring the possibility of signing Oden, the former No. 1 overall pick whose NBA career has been sabotaged by injuries. The Cavs are doing their due diligence while looking at Oden, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the team's interest is contingent upon the center's health.

...

"I don't know when, but I'm taking this year off. I'll play next year," said Oden, who led the Buckeyes to the Final Four as a freshman in 2007.

...

Oden said he has no preference on which team he plays for. "Right now I'm not worrying about where," he said. "I'm only worried about my knee."

Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal reports...

Former Ohio State star Greg Oden is interested in resurrecting his NBA career with the Cavaliers, his agent confirmed Wednesday night.

"He's a Buckeye," Mike Conley Sr. said of Oden. "He lives in Columbus. There's definitely interest there."

Conley said there is mutual interest with his client and four NBA teams, "and maybe some others will develop in the next 30 days. Who knows? There's a few scenarios out there that make sense for him."

...

"He's either going to be able to play or if he gets hurt again and can't play, he can't play," Conley said. "He's going to make an impact on whatever team he's on. A big impact. He's already back in my eyes. As long as he stays healthy, he'll get better and better. He hasn't had a chance to improve his game of basketball because of all this. The upside on him is tremendous. He's a young kid. He just turned 25. He's in the prime of his life."

Chris Tomasson of FoxSportsFlorida reports...

The Miami Heat are on a short list to sign injury-riddled center Greg Oden, the 2007 top draft pick who hasn't played in the NBA in more than three years. But the soonest Oden could be available to play for the Heat is next season.

Oden's agent, Mike Conley, said in a phone interview Wednesday with FOX Sports Florida that Oden could visit Miami as soon as next week. "We haven't set it up yet but we want to go down there and meet with (the Heat) and get to know them and vice-versa,'' Conley said.

Although Conley had talked to FOX Sports Florida last year about Oden's interest in the Heat, he had said on Jan. 10 he hadn't heard anything yet from the team about his client. However, he said he talked to Miami president Pat Riley shortly thereafter. "We've been talking on and off for the last two or three weeks,'' Conley said of Riley. "They're interested.''

"There's definitely interest (in Cleveland) because obviously he's from Ohio State and so there's a lot of synergy there with that team,'' Conley said of Oden, who is from Indianapolis, and the Cavaliers. "That's sort of a home-state team, so Cleveland would make sense also.''

Earlier this month, Oden was linked to continued interest in an NBA comeback with the Heat. Back in December, it was reported that Oden has lost significant weight as he rehabilitates from his latest round of knee surgeries. Also in December, Blazers forward Nicolas Batum said Oden still wants to play in the NBA.

Oden said recently that he would become a gym teacher if he's not able to return to the NBA and Mark Titus, who has known Oden since high school, wrote a lengthy piece on Oden that discussed his time in Portland. Titus discussed that interview in multiple radio interviews and podcasts. Titus also wrote a book that discussed his friendship with Oden.

Oden underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee and arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in February 2012. In May 2012, he underwent Orthokine treatment on both of his knees. He hasn't played in an NBA game since December 2009.

Oden, 24, holds career averages of 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game in 82 appearances.

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

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