CLEVELAND: The Cavaliers and Miami Heat have emerged as the leaders to sign Greg Oden, according to a CBSSports.com report on Tuesday. Oden is expected to meet with the Heat sometime in the next week, according to the report.
The Cavs have been interested in Oden for years and believe their ties to the Cleveland Clinic could be beneficial in getting him back on the court and keeping him healthy. In addition to the clinic’s facilities, they can offer him more money than the Heat and the opportunity to play close to his hometown of Indianapolis.
The Heat can offer him the chance to play on a championship-caliber team and are expected to offer Oden the veteran’s minimum of about $1.4 million. The Cavs have about $4 million left in cap space. Oden has no intention of playing this season, but is expected to be ready by the start of training camp in the fall.
Oden has endured three microfracture surgeries on his knees — including two on his left knee. He has not played since Dec. 5, 2009, after the Portland Trail Blazers made him the top overall pick of the 2007 draft. He played in just 82 games in five seasons with the Blazers, averaging 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds. They finally released him near the end of last season.
The rosters for the Rising Stars game will be announced today. Cavs rookies Tyler Zeller and Dion Waiters should be invited, along with second-year players Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson.
It’s unclear yet whether Irving will play, given his selection to the All-Star Game. Irving was named Most Valuable Player of the Rising Stars game last year, which features first and second-year players and is held on the Friday night of All-Star weekend.
Cavs coach Byron Scott and Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson are old friends from their playing days together with the Indiana Pacers. Scott said the two never really spoke about coaching someday and never really pictured Jackson as a future NBA coach.
“We were having too much fun playing against each other,” Scott said. “I played with a fun team in Indiana when Mark Jackson was on board, with Reggie Miller and some of the other guys. It was just a fun bunch of guys that had a will to win. But we had a lot of fun doing it and just enjoyed each other.
“That’s why I always go back to that camaraderie and how important that is to be successful in this league. We had great chemistry and camaraderie on that team, and I think that’s one of the reasons why we were so good.”
Luke Walton (left foot) and Daniel Gibson (toe) both missed Tuesday’s game. Walton tried to go, but was a late scratch. Gibson is wearing a walking boot on his right foot to take some of the pressure off his sprained toe. He remains day-to-day. … Jackson on Irving: “ I think Kyrie Irving, you could make a case, is as good as any point guard in basketball.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.