When it comes to professional sports drafts, everyone’s favorite thing to do is to pick out the biggest busts from years prior. In the NFL, it’s an easy thing to do but in the NBA, the busts are more rampant. However, in recent years the busts have stayed lower in the order while the cream has risen to the top. Since 2007, the first overall selections in the NBA Draft have been Greg Oden, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, John Wall, Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis.
Guess who sticks out.
Oden was bogged down by chronic knee problems that even persisted during his days at Ohio State. He was forced into semi-retirement after his third microfracture surgery last February. Since being drafted around five years ago, Oden has played in just 82 games over that period and hasn’t been healthy for a full season yet.
But he’s trying to make a comeback, and despite his injury woes and his not so glamorous NBA career up to this point, Oden is just 24 years old and might still be able to turn his career into something other than a cautionary injury tale. The only question is who would take the chance on a 7-foot center with chronic knee problems?
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Miami Heat are at the front of the line when it comes to teams waiting to see if Oden is worth an offer. Windhorst says that the Heat have had interest in Oden since before the season started, and would have signed him had it not been for his most recent surgery.
The Heat, who have been on the lookout for a center for three years, were interested in Oden before the start of last season when he was a restricted free agent. But he ended up taking a one-year, $8.9 million deal with the Blazers. After a setback in his recovery, the contract was reduced to $1.5 million and he later had the microfracture procedure.
Something that might throw a major kink into this plan is the fact that the Heat are about $14 million over the luxury tax, and already have $80 million committed to salaries for next season. Many believe that Miami’s total payroll could balloon past $90 million after all the luxury tax penalties have been added up and counted against them.
Oden would likely be signed to the minimum, which for him would be somewhere around $947,907 depending on how his first year is counted. Oden missed his rookie season, and the 2008-09 season was instead counted as his rookie year. The veteran’s minimum for a player in his fourth season is $947,907 but if his first year actually did count and this is marked as Oden’s fifth year in the league, his minimum would bet bumped up to $1,027,424.
However, Oden’s salary is likely going to be north of the $1 million mark, as he is holding off actually returning to the NBA until after this season.