The Cleveland Cavaliers have six players on their current roster 6'8" or taller. Both Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller are 6"11" or bigger. Yet it seems the Cavaliers are interested in adding more size to their front court.
It is being reported that Cleveland is interested in the services of center Greg Oden. The 7-footer from Ohio State has taken time off to fully recover from a career that began with injury after injury. It has been three and half years since the big man played in an NBA game after being drafted number-one overall by the Portland Trailblazers in 2007.
Many have looked at Oden's career and called him a bust. In his five years since being drafted, Oden has played in just 82 games, the equivalent of one NBA season. The problem for Oden is that the most amount of games he has played in one year was 61 in 08-09. The following year he only played in 21 before having to shut it down.
For his career, Oden averages 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game. These numbers do not jump off the page at you for a former top pick, but for someone who has really not been able to get anything going during his time in the league, they are not terrible stats. After his freshman season, Oden was picked because of his ability on the defensive end of the court. He has shown promise on both sides of the ball during his short time in the league.
Since playing his last NBA game, Oden has been rehabbing and working out. He returned to OSU last year as a student to continue his education while he continued to get healthy. The 25-year old believes he is finally in a place where he can return to the league, be productive, and stay injury free.
The worry, with any big man with injury problems, is if this can actually happen. Any team that signs Oden will be taking a risk, but it could be one with a pretty big reward. There was a reason he was selected over Kevin Durant and there are examples of players that have overcome injury problems to have successful careers.
He may not ever be as productive as projected in 2007, but he could be a solid part of the Cavaliers' rotation potentially.
Who, though, would be the odd man out if Oden is signed? Varejao's name has been on the trading block come deadline time the last few years, so that could be an option if Oden proves effective and healthy. Tristan Thompson played in all 82 games last year for Cleveland and those in charge seem to be happy with his play. Zeller had his moments last year, but it would not be surprising if he were the odd man out. GM Chris Grant said recent number-one pick Anthony Bennett would be used as a power forward, but it is very unlikely he would be moved, as they just selected him.
Along with the risk of signing Oden comes the burden of attempting to do so. The Cavaliers are not the only team reportedly interested in him. The two-time defending champions Miami Heat, along with NBA finalists San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics, and the Memphis Grizzlies are all interested in Oden.
A source close to Oden told ESPN's J.A. Adande that Cleveland and the Spurs are the front runners at this point.
Signing Oden would be an interesting move for the Cavaliers. It would give them the potential to have a true center, something they have not had in some time. If Oden is in fact over his injury problems, he still has plenty of time left in his career. If he can get back to the level he was playing before the last injury, 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game, he could be a cheap and effective weapon for Cleveland moving forward.
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