Friday, Greg Oden will have surgery on his knee. Again. Once again for a non-contact injury. This is a genuinely good person, a smart guy whose body continually betrays him. And that is sad.
But we have to ask ourselves what is next? For him? For the Blazers?
The team did not offer an extension to Oden, which means he will be a free agent this summer. Traditionally, however, rookies in his position are extended a qualifying offer, which does two things: Makes him a restricted free agent so the team (in this case Portland) has the right to match any outside offer for him; and it gives a salary number that he can come back and play for with the team that has his rights.
Greg Oden’s qualifying offer would be for a whopping $8.8 million. That’s what you get with former No. 1 overall picks.
Is Portland going to make that offer? If they don’t he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Portland general manager Rich Cho said point blank “He will be restricted.” That means he plans to make the offer.
“No way,” one executive told CBSSports.com. “Tough situation.”
Another exec, conceding that Oden’s qualifying offer is an “enormous number,” said, “I think there’s a chance that they won’t.”
With Paul Allen at the top the Blazers certainly can afford to make the offer. But should they? On the open market Oden will not get $8.8 million (and any deal will be short or have team options very early on).
Also, can he bounce back? Kevin Pelton at Basketball Prospectus notes that Kenyon Martin is the only player to have double microfracture surgery, but he has come back to be solid and play at least 71 games a year the last three seasons (he is out at the start of this one, however for an unrelated injury).
The Blazers have until June 30 to make the offer, and one thing is sure — they will take their time with this decision.