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Greg Oden might choose a rebuilding team for his comeback where there would be ‘less pressure’

Jul 27, 2013, 9:30 AM EDT

greg_oden Getty Images

We’re expected to learn of Greg Oden’s free agent decision as early as next week, and even though the general public has no idea if he can still play basketball at the NBA level, there are six teams reportedly interested in signing him up to see what he’s got.

Miami, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio, Atlanta and Dallas are the teams that reportedly attended workouts in Indianapolis to get a look at where Oden is physically, and as we’ve discussed many times, whichever franchise comes up with the most dollars guaranteed in a multi-year deal will likely land the chance to usher him back onto the NBA scene.

But due to the sensitive nature of the situation, where Oden is perceived to be a lost cause due to the injuries that destroyed a once-promising career, there might be far less for him to deal with from an expectations standpoint if he chooses one of the lower profile teams on that list.

From Steve Aschburner of’s Hangtime Blog:

Should Oden reach a deal with Miami, the spotlight on him will be hotter than with any of the other five. He’ll risk being seen as something of a front-runner, as he would to a lesser extent with the Spurs.

Any of the teams lower in the pecking order — the Pelicans, Kings, or Hawks — could offer more modest expectations. And if Oden were to stay healthy and help one of them, he might find himself with more supporters nationally and globally than he would by jumping aboard the Miami or San Antonio bandwagons.

“We’ve looked at all the scenarios,” Duffy said Friday. “There might be less pressure if he tries this with a team that’s rebuilding. Then again, the quality of the medical staff will matter. Maybe a winning team has chemistry that’s good or his role would be clearly defined.”

It’s an interesting facet to a complicated and somewhat delicate situation.

Money will likely be the deciding factor here, as Oden looks to maximize his earning potential just in case his comeback attempt ends up failing. But if he’s sensitive to the public perception, then maybe he will indeed look to join a smaller market team to work on returning to playing professional basketball again in a relatively peaceful environment.

  1. jayhebert1961 - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    The logical choice for Oden, if he is looking to revive his career is the Spurs. Class act from front office to coach to medical staff to players. Coach Pop knows how to protect older/injury plagued players (just ask him about his $250,000 fine last year). It is not the media frenzy/Hollywood drama of the Heat/Lebron. He would not be expected to do much (we already rock). He could ease back into playing time and slowly change his legacy. If he solely out for the money, then the Spurs are not the best choice.

    • uptjeff - Aug 1, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      The dynasty is near the end, and Pop won’t be there much longer either. Then what? Pelicans are obviously the best choice. Great, young team that’s offering long-term security (and more money).

  2. leoimpr - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Miami needs to go to Europe and find an athletic 7 footer, who cares if he is good or not. we just need someone who can defend.

    • gofinsgoheatfloria - Jul 27, 2013 at 10:52 PM

      Miami has the rights to a 7′ center they drafted (out of LSU) and sent to Europe last year, Justin Hamilton. There was talk of his playing in the Summer League just past but he had a hamstring problem. I haven’t read anything about the Heat’s latest plans for him, if any.

  3. edwardemanuelson - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Analyze it any way you want, the best fit for Oden is in San Antonio.

    It’s out of the spotlight, they’re a perennial contender, he’d get to learn from one of the best bigs of all time, and when it comes to minutes – Pop’s the best in the business.

  4. ocgunslinger - Jul 27, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Oden must have a lot of $$$$$ from his Portland days left (If he doesn’t it won’t matter how much he signs for now). He needs to find a situation that he is comfortable in and with a good medical staff. If he can’t play it won’t matter where he goes.

  5. axelmontoya99 - Jul 27, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    No Boston in the mix?
    Danny what are you doing?

  6. kb2408 - Jul 27, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Another big man who doesn’t want the pressure? D12 is smiling…

  7. antistratfordian - Jul 27, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    He’s not going to any rebuilding team… his agent is trying to scare a better offer from a real team.

  8. labratre - Jul 27, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    He’ll be a Pelican! Come on, just look at the talent they have.

    • uptjeff - Aug 1, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      It’s pretty obvious he’ll be a Pelican. Great, young team that’s offering long-term security. Why would he sign a 1 year deal on the Heat and Spurs, both of which are on the verge of breaking up next offseason?

  9. labratre - Jul 27, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    Miami can not win with 1 player doing everything, and there are other teams in the East that’s gotten a lot better.

  10. jayhebert1961 - Jul 27, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    The smart move for Oden is the Spurs. No Hollywood drama of Lebron/Heat. Spurs are class act from top to bottom. Heck, Coach Pop will take a $250,000 fine to protect his older/injury prone players. And there would be little expectations on him since all of the pieces are already in place. If he wants to rebuild his career, it is a no-brainer. If he is looking for cash, the Spurs are not a choice.

    • uptjeff - Aug 1, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      The Spurs are a great team, but the end is near for the dynasty. Pop will not be there for much longer either. The smart move is to go to the Pelicans. Long-term security plus a young team that will be good for many years to come…not to mention more money. It makes sense.

  11. jcshin89 - Jul 28, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    go spurs. he’s a center. not a pg or sg. he can still get his career back. Spurs want him and under popp he will gain high basketball IQ. just look at all the players coach popp developed last year.

  12. dogtrainer7 - Jul 28, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Who ever picks him up will be hoping for a miracle if he can last 20 games.
    In Portland every time he hit the floor he had a micro fractures of an assortment of bones.
    Lets just give him a couple million for doing nothing
    Sorry but the Oden era never did and never will happen

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