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LeBron on the Heat signing Greg Oden: ‘Whatever he gives us is extra.’

Aug 12, 2013, 12:15 AM EDT

Miami Heat v San Antonio Spurs - Game Three Getty Images

The low-pressure angle from the Heat continues where Greg Oden is concerned, with the latest comments on the lack of expectations for the recently-signed free agent big man coming from LeBron James himself.

Speaking at a charity event in Akron, Ohio, James toed the company line of extreme cautious optimism when delivering his thoughts on the team’s latest acquisition.

From Brian Windhorst of

“Adding Greg is a huge piece for us but we’re not asking too much from him, we’re not going to put too much pressure on him,” James said. “He hasn’t played since 2009, so it’s been awhile. We just want him to work his way back into condition. Whatever he gives us is extra.”

You can’t set the bar much lower than that.

Oden hasn’t played a single NBA minute since December of 2009, so the tempered level of excitement is somewhat understandable. But at some point, shouldn’t there be some expectation of production, considering the more than two million guaranteed dollars the Heat will be paying Oden over the next two seasons?

In addition to the physical problems that have plagued Oden since his NBA career began, he suffered some emotional ones, as well. The team needs to take this approach to a certain extent, but at the same time, they have to let him know along the way that he’s there for a reason, and that he is in fact needed to be a physical presence for the Heat, if only during the postseason.

  1. 00maltliquor - Aug 12, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    How is this news? LeBron’s just echoing the same sentiments as every PBT reader here. Also, seriously can’t believe almost 4 years have flown by since he last stepped foot on court. Life goes by way too fast.

  2. kb2408 - Aug 12, 2013 at 1:10 AM

    If the Heat hope to make it out of the East they’re going to need more than four Oden to be a cheerleader. I expect the Pacers, Bulls and Nets to be much better next season. If the Heat are the same team they were last season it will not be enough to get out of the East. I don’t care how many vehicles LBJ is pulling around.

    • legend30 - Aug 12, 2013 at 1:36 AM

      I’m sure you said the exact samething last year.

      • kb2408 - Aug 12, 2013 at 1:50 AM

        Yep, sure did. And I bet you thought they would have three titles now instead of two. But you won’t admit that, will you? The Heat had a couple of fortunate breaks last season on their way to the Finals and a title. But that’s in the past. The fact is they won the title. But the odds are against them even getting to the Finals next season. If you know anything about the history of the NBA you know it is extremely rare for a team to go to four straight Finals. But we shall see. They will have to have almost all the breaks go in their favor next season. I don’t see that happening.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 12, 2013 at 2:23 AM

        “And I bet you thought they would have three titles now instead of two. But you won’t admit that, will you?”

        Well that’s a lot more accurate than your prediction of 0 titles, so he’s still ahead of you there.

      • fanofthegame79 - Aug 12, 2013 at 10:24 AM

        KB – the odds are actually in their favor if you look at Vegas. But in all reality, the odds are against all of the teams. Bottom line is this team has been to the Finals 3 straight years, won 2 titles back-to-back (had a 27-game winning streak along the way) so it’s ok to me that they’re bringing back the same team: they’re winners and they’ll have chemistry going into the season.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 12, 2013 at 10:42 AM

        Every team has to change it up every year. The Heat made changes in 2012-13 from 2011-12. You can’t win every year without making some changes. It’s not controversial to state that the Heat need to make some changes to their gameplan if they want to win again in 2014.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 12, 2013 at 1:40 AM

      having birdman all season will help. He’s the best center on the team (outside of Oden, but i’m pretending he’s not on the team) and he should take a few more of bosh’s minutes at the position, bumping Bosh to the 4 more often, which pushes Lebron to the 3 more often. All of these changes allow for players to return to their more natural, better positions. I don’t think it will be as much of a struggle as people say it will be. (all of this assumes no injuries for any team, as well as Oden not playing until the playoffs. If Oden is healthy and plays 10-15 mpg, the Heat will run away with it).

    • legend30 - Aug 12, 2013 at 2:16 AM

      I will admit that I thought the Heat would beat the Mavs. That obviously didn’t happened. But after losing against the Mavs, LeBron has become a much better player and matured. The Heat had a couple fortunate breaks to win a title? Wouldn’t you say the same thing for your Lakers? Remember Derek Fisher 0.4 shot? Robert Horry making those clutch shots? Every team that wins the finals usually needs “fortunate breaks.” At this time last year you must been planning on the parade for the Lakers to win the title … One year later you’re too embarrassed to talk about them.

    • miamatt - Aug 12, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      ” But the odds are against them even getting to the Finals next season. If you know anything about the history of the NBA you know it is extremely rare for a team to go to four straight Finals.”

      On this, you are right kb2408. But really now, the only thing you’ve proven is that you can troll against a particular team, and yes, you will be right most of the time. You wanna be a sports genius? Be the naysayer, “this team won’t win it all” or “this player will never be great” and you are usually right. It also makes you completely gutless.

      I don’t think anybody is saying it’s been easy for the Heat, but as a lakers fan I’m sure you appreciate that this is a results-driven culture, and everything else is just so much noise. There is nothing inevitable about the Pacers, Bulls, or anybody else catching the Heat. Could one of them? Sure! They look better on paper. But history is littered with would-be-champions that time has long forgot. The onus is on other teams to take the mantle from Miami; the Heat don’t have to prove anything.

      • borderline1988 - Aug 12, 2013 at 1:41 PM

        “The Heat had a couple of fortunate breaks last season on their way to the Finals and a title.”

        There was exactly one lucky break in the last 3 years – Ray Allen’s shot against the Spurs.
        It’s true that the Heat have struggled at certain times against other teams in playoff series. But save for the Mavs/Heat game 6 and the Spurs/Heat game 6, the Heat have been dominant in elimination games.

        The Pacers are not good enough to beat the Heat. When the Heat finally woke up in game 7 and brought their trademark energy, they cruised past Indiana. Even if Lebron wouldn’t have made that game-winner in game 1, I think the Heat simply would ahve won game 6 and 7.

        It’s frustrating for Heat fans to see Wade and Lebron sleep through games. But when they have that fire in their eyes, watch out.

  3. yankeepunk3000 - Aug 12, 2013 at 2:09 AM

    it is rare…unless you look at the Celtics when they did it 10 time in a row. that’s history right? Oh ok good we agree.

    • kb2408 - Aug 12, 2013 at 2:28 AM

      Name another team that did it. I can only think of two. The Bird led Celtics and the Kobe/Shaq LAKERS. They both lost in the Finals…and it took a miracle shot just for the LAKERS to get to the Finals that fourth time. Heat fans act as if the Heat have run roughshod through the playoffs the past three years. The only team they completely dominated were the very in-experienced Thunder. As for Russell’s Celtics going to ten straight Finals, come on dude, we all know that will never happen again. How many teams did the league have then? That was a completely different NBA. But if that’s what you want to hold on to, be my guest.

      • bcb11 - Aug 12, 2013 at 3:01 AM

        I don’t understand why other Heat fans would act like Miami’s owned the playoffs myself. Besides wanting to see the best teams matched up in general, it those match-ups that allow for some of the most exciting moments in basketball, whether it’s Ray Allen’s game tying three, Derek Fisher’s “0.4” shot, or Jordan’s winner against the Jazz in ’98.

      • snoopy2014 - Aug 12, 2013 at 6:40 AM

        The early 2000s Lakers didn’t make it to four straight finals. They lost in an earlier roundtime to the Spurs in 2003.

      • legend30 - Aug 12, 2013 at 9:19 AM

        Everyone knows if MJ never played baseball, then the Bulls would had gone to four straight finals appearance. It’s going to be extremely tough for Miami to go to the finals four consecutive years, but people was saying how hard it was to go to the finals three straight years (They were right). Anyways, the Pacers have a great chance beating the Heat this year. The weird thing is Miami matches up well with the Bulls but not the Pacers. Although, the Bulls matches up well with the Pacers but not the Heat. The Nets are going to be right in the mix too. This all depends how the match-ups are.

      • miamatt - Aug 12, 2013 at 11:29 AM

        Pretty funny that a Lakers fan would be wrong about how many times in a row the lakers made the finals just this past decade. You don’t suppose…. kb2408 just jumped the bandwagon in the Gasol years, hmm?

        I remember the Spurs knocking out the Lakers vividly that year (who could forget Kevin Willis getting some play during garbage time?) and I was a Heat fan living in Chicago at the time.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 12, 2013 at 12:02 PM

        Miamatt’s owning you today bro

    • fanofthegame79 - Aug 12, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      Different time and different game (compared to the way it’s played today).

  4. kb2408 - Aug 12, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    I guess Heat bandwagon jumping “fans” actually fell for the whole not 1, not 2, not 10 hyperbole. Fact of the matter is Dallas embarrassed them and both the Spurs and Pacers had them beat. And Miami was favored against both.

    • Kurt Helin - Sep 3, 2013 at 8:08 PM

      Should we go over how the Celtics had the Lakers beat in 2010 save for an injury to Perkins?

  5. gatorboy1980 - Aug 12, 2013 at 7:03 AM

    Dude the Heat beat the Bulls with a healthy D.Rose 4-1. You jus mad bc they winning but trust me 9-10 outta 10 the team with the Best player make it to the finals and the Heat got the best player. Who ever said it was going to be easy. A win is a win so deal with it ABC stop HATING. Michael Jordan and Kobe caught many breaks bc somebody hit big shots for them. Stop Hate please!!

  6. 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 12, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    LeBron is so good that you can say, “whatever he gives us is extra” about 14 other guys on the team.

    OK, back to enjoying the championship, gotta go.

    • knicksmets - Aug 12, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      Yeah because that sure worked with the Cavs, a good team needs a star surrounded by good role players like the spurs, not a team that expects one player to do most of the work. That is a team that will never get far in the playoffs

  7. tannethrill - Aug 12, 2013 at 9:40 AM


    I don’t think many expected them to go to the Finals the first year but once there I don’t think many believed they would lose to the Mavs.

    You can expect the Bulls, Nets, Pacers and whoever to be better but does it matter if Lebron is still getting better?

    • knicksmets - Aug 12, 2013 at 9:49 AM

      Yes it does, the Heat had to fought hard to get past the pacers and Spurs. They didn’t have a complete cakewalk in the playoffs last year. If wade continues to play not so well like he did in last year playoffs and they can’t keep Oden on the court. They are not going to win the finals. The pacers took them to 7 last year and now they have added Scola, Copeland, Watson, and Solomen Hill. The heat may still win a championship but they need everyone to produce no matter how well Lebron does he needs people to help him.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 12, 2013 at 1:48 PM

        So in order for the Heat to have a chance to win the championship, you’re saying that LeBron has to play great, and everyone else on the team has to produce also? I’ve never heard this before! You have proven here that New York sports fans are far and away the most informed sports fans of all.

        I truly hope Spo reads this because I’d hate for him to go into the season without telling the team this information.

  8. dysraw1 - Aug 12, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    i hope this dude can stand on his own two, not afraid of the competition. just want to see the ohio state Oden, or something close to ity

  9. dysraw1 - Aug 12, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    I hope this guy can stand on his own two, not afraid of the competition. would get a kick out of seeing this guy be the ohio state Oden

  10. miamatt - Aug 12, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    LeBron’s on the money with this. The Heat are a proven champion without a lick of help from Oden, and it is up to other teams to prove they can beat the Heat in a seven game series. Not just to come close. Not just to make Miami work for it. To actually do it.

    The post implies that at some point the Heat have to set real expectations for Oden, but I think that misses the point. The expectations that the Heat make public aren’t going to be the same ones the team has internally. I’m sure the Heat are sincere in that they will give Oden all the time in the world to make sure he is healthy and ready for the playoffs, but statements such as this one from LBJ are nothing more than subterfuge aimed at tempering media frenzy.

  11. jzone954 - Aug 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Miamatts > whoever else on the forum

  12. mrlitl - Aug 12, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Lakers did go to 3 straight Finals. 2008 – 2010. They lost the first, then won back to back.

    And you’re not a troll just because you don’t like Miami.

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