Greg Oden to Sign Two-Year Deal With the Miami Heat

Greg Oden, at long last, has made a decision regarding his basketball future. He’s taking whatever he may have left in those star-crossed knees to South Beach. Oden will sign a two-year deal with the back-to-back NBA champion Miami Heat. Per the AP and Grantland: “The former No. 1 overall draft pick has chosen to sign with the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat, ending months of suspense over where the center whose career has been decimated by a series of knee problems would be attempting his comeback. The Heat were long perceived as the frontrunners to land Oden, and now have a 7-footer to help them try for a third straight title. Mike Conley Sr., one of Oden’s agents, said Friday night that the former Portland center accepted an offer worth about $1 million for this coming season and would have a player option for 2014-15. ‘He just thought that it was the best fit for him, where he’s at and especially for how it relates to him coming back,’ Conley said. ‘He can be on a winning team and be working his way in slowly.’ The contract is expected to be formally signed early next week, Conley said. […] ‘Obviously the chance to play with the best player in the world and compete for a championship was a big selling point,’ Oden said. ‘But more than that, what I really liked was how they thought I could really add something to their team. They’ve won back-to-back championships without me, so for them to pursue me as hard as they did meant a lot, especially given all that I’ve gone through.’ Of course, even the most optimistic Oden fans (like me) will admit that the Heat aren’t getting that Greg Oden. In truth, they’ll be lucky if Greg is half the player he was. Not only is his injury history unprecedented for an NBA player, but as he told me last year, his past few years away from the game have been a psychological and emotional struggle. Oden is now in a much better place mentally, but the odds of him salvaging his career still aren’t great, which is something he both knows and doesn’t allow himself to think about. ‘The past six years have been tough for me,’ Oden said, ‘but there’s nothing I can do about it now. The past is the past. All I’m focused on is right now. And right now I feel great and I’m looking forward to playing again.’ […] According to Oden, ‘There’s a lot to be excited about in joining the NBA champions, getting to play with some great players, and living in Miami. But honestly, the thing I’m most excited about is just being able to play basketball again. It’s been a long and challenging road back, so just having the chance to play the game I love again has me more excited than anything else.'”