Former Portland Trail Blazers No. 1 overall draft pick Greg Oden is attempting a comeback after suffering multiple injuries. On Tuesday, according to reports, the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers are the front runners to land the fallen star.
According to CBSsports.com, Miami will likely offer Oden a contract for the league minimum salary, while the Cavs could potentially pony up an offer of $4 million. According to the report, the Boston Celtics are also expressing interest, but a "source said that Oden is leaning towards making a comeback with either Cleveland or Miami."
Miami, the defending NBA Champion, has been eyeing Oden for over a year, but the 7-footer has opted for a slow and steady recovery from his last injuries, thus delaying his possible return to the NBA in order to fully heal.
The Heat would certainly be appealing to Oden, who could learn from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade while playing for possibly multiple NBA titles.
On the other hand, while the Cleveland Cavs have not been competitive seen losing James to the Heat years ago, playing in his home state of Ohio would be a great draw for Oden. It would also be a low pressure location, considering the expectations would be much lower for Oden in Cleveland than they would in Miami.
Oden was notoriously drafted first overall in the 2007 NBA draft out of Ohio State, one spot ahead of Kevin Durant. Since then, both players have gone in completely opposite directions.
Durant is a scoring champion.
Oden has played in 82 total NBA games - the equivalent of one regular season.
Oden missed his entire rookie season to a devastating knee injury. He went on to play 61 games in the 2008-09 season, averaging 8.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in 21.5 minutes per game. Injuries caused him to play just 21 games in the 2009-10 season, and he hasn't appeared in an NBA game since December 5, 2009, when he suffered another knee injury.
While rehabbing injuries, Oden often suffered more injuries, thus compounding his problems. The Trail Blazers waived Oden in March 2012, severing the ties between him and an organization that had hoped he would become the next Shaq.
Oden plans to be ready for the start of the 2013-14 season.
"I don't know when, but I'm taking this year off. I'll play next year," said Oden at an Ohio State basketball game on Tuesday night.