With the 2013 NBA Draft now behind us, the Miami Heat organization can focus on the off-season to regroup and get ready for another title defending season. The Heat weren’t able to strike iron in the draft this year, trading for the number 50 pick in the second round and selecting James Ennis from Long Beach State University. As another versatile wing, he could potentially see daylight on the already stacked Heat bench if someone gets injured.
With James Jones, Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen all picking up their contract options, the Heat can begin exploring available free agents that wouldn’t mind sacrificing a little pay in order to have the opportunity to win a championship.
One name that has been swirling the rumor mill is former Portland Trail Blazer center Greg Oden. According to FoxSportsFlorida.com, there is definite interest between Oden and the defending champs.
“Oden’s agent, Mike Conley, told FOX Sports Florida by phone Friday that the free-agent center remains very interested in signing with the Heat this summer and the feeling is mutual.”
The success of the potential partnership rests on one thing: can Oden become the athletic, aggressive center the Heat would need him to be? The only reason the Heat organization would risk even their veteran minimum salary on him would be to combat against some of the bigger centers in the league like Roy Hibbert, Joakim Noah or Dwight Howard.
The Heat should only sign Oden if they are A) Able to keep Chris “Birdman” Andersen (insurance policy) and B) Actually give Oden meaningful minutes outside of garbage time. One of the biggest issues for the Heat in recent years has been signing old, out of shape or injured players and allowing them to waste valuable salary cap space. In order to make this venture worth while for both parties, Oden will need to be 100% healthy by the time that training camp starts so he can build up his stamina for the grueling regular season.
This potential signing could do wonders for the Heat’s interior defense. If he is able to resemble the 9.4 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 1.4 BPG player that he was with the Trail Blazers, his addition could make this already lethal Heat team even more unstoppable. But those are a lot of assumptions for a player that hasn’t played a regular season NBA game since 2009. It will up to the Heat organization to get him back into playing form. His success and long-term health are a long shot, but it is a risk that the Heat might think is worth it.
Jared Doyle is a Miami Heat writer for RantSports.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @outofboundsjay or “Like” him on Facebook.