Reports earlier this week are stating that Oden and his representatives will meet with Heat team president Pat Riley as soon as next week to discuss possibly joining Miami’s roster as soon as this season.
While Oden has stated before that he won’t play until the 2013-14 season, the Heat along with other teams have expressed interest in adding the center to their roster this season to monitor his rehabilitation from a third microfracture knee sugery.
Miami has some obstacles to go through if they want to go ahead with adding Oden.
The most immediate concern for the Heat would be their current roster. The team yesterday decided to retain Jarvis Varnado, who was under a ten-day contract, for the remainder of the season. They also re-signed Chris Andersen to a second ten-day contract with indications that he too might be retained for the remainder of the season.
If the Heat wanted to add Oden to the roster Andersen would the likeliest player to be waived in order to free up a spot. Miami can’t send a player down to the D-League to open up a spot since under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement any player that is sent down still counts towards the NBA team’s roster.
The other obstacle standing in Miami’s way is their salary cap situation. The Heat are over the cap and face a steep luxury tax in the future. Even if Oden is signed for the veterean’s minimum they will take a hit. Other teams that are interested in Oden, such as New Orleans Hornets, can offer the center much more lucrative long-term deals than the Heat can.
The main Heat player that will likely be impacted long-term by a potential Oden signing is Dexter Pittman. He is in the final year of his rookie contract and has spent most of the season on the inactive list. If Miami desires to sign Oden long-term Pittman will likely not be retained.