Portland will likely have to overpay Greg Oden in order to retain him, and continue to hope and pray that he’ll be ready to play come January. From CBS Sports: “Portland Trail Blazers president Larry Miller made the news official while continuing to express full support for the oft-injured center during a meeting with reporters at the Rose Garden on Wednesday. Miller made it sound like Oden’s return to Portland is a foregone conclusion despite the fact that he is a restricted free agent. ‘Greg is a part of our Plan A,’ Miller said. Back in October, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft informed fans on Facebook that he had begun running, but The Oregonian recently reported that Oden has not yet been cleared for basketball activities during his current rehabilitation from knee surgery. Last summer, Bill Duffy, Oden’s agent, said that they were targeting a potential return in January. Miller said that’s still the plan. ‘He won’t be ready for the start of the season but we’re hoping by January that he’s able to play,’ Miller said. A January return would come 25 months since Oden last took the court and more than 13 months since his most recent microfracture knee surgery, which occurred in Nov. 2010. Miller said that Portland’s acting general manager, Chad Buchanan, called Oden’s agent on Wednesday, the first day that contact between NBA teams and agents was officially permitted. Oden, 23, was tendered an $8.8 million qualifying offer by the Blazers back in June.”
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