Here’s a depressing NBA factoid for you: Greg Oden has played in a grand total of 82 games since being drafted #1 overall in the 2007 NBA Draft. And, perhaps even more depressing is the fact his last game was December 5th, 2009. His career is remembered more for a never-ending string of injury setbacks — broken wrist, foot and ankle problems, fractured kneecap, multiple microfracture surgeries — than the single season’s worth of NBA games he’s appeared in. But word has leaked of a potential comeback, and it could come sooner than the 2013-14 season.
Ric Bucher reports that Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, Oden’s teammate at Ohio State, said his oft-injured friend is currently enrolled in classes at OSU while he continues to rehab and mold himself into playing shape. His goal is to test the free agent waters and hopefully get picked up by a team towards the end of the 2012-13 season, or wait until fall — ESPN sources claim the latter is the more likely scenario.
So, which teams are interested? Apparently a handful — namely, the Miami Heat, who are perpetually in need of help in the paint. However, even though Oden will probably come at a relative bargain, there’s nothing cheap about the Heat’s payroll, which is about to skyrocket in 2013 when the new luxury tax rules kick in. While he’ll never be the nightly double-double machine he was destined to become, if his body holds up (*crosses fingers*), then some lucky team is going to get a more-than-serviceable big man, with little to no risk involved.