Oft-injured center Greg Oden has decided to sign with the Miami Heat, calling the two-time defending champions the ideal choice for getting his career back on track.
Oden told ESPN that it was a big "deciding factor" that the Heat would not need him to contribute much in the early part of the 2013-2014 season, as he still needs to more time to recover from a third microfracture knee surgery in February 2012.
The seven-footer, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers but has not played in an official game since Dec. 5, 2009, said he was impressed with how closely Miami's head coach, Erik Spoelstra, and general manager, Pat Riley, had followed his career and injury struggles and with their plan for ensuring his complete recovery.
He reportedly has agreed to sign a two-year deal for the veteran's minimum, although Oden could opt out after the first season and seek a bigger payout.
Any contribution Oden can make would be a bonus for the Heat, who already boast four-time MVP LeBron James and All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on their roster. Miami also have re-signed power forward/center Chris Andersen, who gives the team depth inside.
Several other teams also were interested in signing Oden, including last season's NBA runner-up, the San Antonio Spurs.
Oden has averaged 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds thus far in his career. EFE