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 Cavaliers 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.