Dave,Greg Oden signed with the Miami Heat. You sad? Bittersweet? Happy for him? I'm all three. It depends on the day. I'm curious about your reaction.
My initial reaction is relief that the process is finally over. The best thing for everyone--Greg, Blazer fans, the league--is that Oden become just a basketball player again...no Decision, no mystery aura, no disappointment, just get on the court and play (or don't). Having Greg back in context will allow everybody to celebrate or criticize him for the right things.
My second reaction is that of all the places Oden could have ended up, Miami was the best possible one. He'll face only moderate pressure there. 5 minutes or 30 minutes a night won't tell the story in Miami the way it would have in Cleveland or Dallas. If he plays well the Heat and their fans will appreciate him. If he doesn't, no big loss. He'll be overshadowed by bigger stars off the court as well. After the initial blush of media attention he'll not be expected to carry interviews or be the public face of the team.
The move also works for Blazer fans mourning what could have been. Watching Oden go to Cleveland and potentially take them from also-rans to the playoffs would have hurt. It would have been hard to root for him or his team in those circumstances. But even if Oden plays great, Miami was already winning titles without him. It's the difference between having your little company bought out by an expanding mom-and-pop competitor across the street and having it swallowed up by Wal-Mart. Neither is pleasant, but the second you can at least understand. If it makes them another few million dollars, oh well. It's no reflection on you. Big Box stores and LeBron James just happen.
Would I rather have Greg Oden healthy and in a Blazers uniform? No doubt. Would I be more excited about Portland's potential having Oden on board as a minor signing this year instead of watching him go to Miami? Probably. Even now it's hard not to miss his rebounding, shot blocking, and space-eating in the lane. But neither initial health nor a triumphant return was going to happen. No matter how tantalizing the dream, we're not sure he can even play. He may end up being a 200 minute per season guy for Miami, more of a curiosity than a help. Under those circumstances it's not hard to wish Greg well and to get on with life. Any remaining mourning is less about him and more about what could have been.