What is next for Greg Oden?

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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.

Other teams’ front office people are not so convinced he will, said CBS Sports Ken Berger.

“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.

Larry Nance Jr. throws alley-oop to himself, throws alley-oop to himself (video)

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LOS ANGELES — Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. immediately motioned for the replay to be shown of this dunk. It was necessary to properly appreciate it.

Best dunk of the night.

Donovan Mitchell won the dunk contest, though.

Larry Nance Jr. plays tribute to father — rock-the-cradle dunk in Suns uniform

Associated Press
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LOS ANGELES — Back in 1984, high-flying Larry Nance Sr. won the first NBA All-Star Dunk Contest with this set of dunks — most famously a rock-the-cradle move.

Larry Nance Jr. came into the 2018 Dunk Contest and went nostalgic — all the way back to the Suns’ throwback uniform and the same dunk.

That and a good second dunk got him into the Dunk Contest finals. In that round, Nance Sr. threw an alley-oop to his son for the windmill.

Donovan Mitchell throws alley-oop to himself – off second backboard (video)

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LOS ANGELES – Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell set a high standard with the first slam of the 2018 dunk contest.

Very creative. Very well-executed.

Looks like all that preparation paid off.

Devin Booker’s 3-point-contest victory bright spot for Suns (video)

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Los Angeles – Devin Booker‘s Suns have the NBA’s worst record (18-41).

“I think everyone is fed up with the losing, from the top to the bottom of the organization,” Booker said this afternoon. “So, for us, it’s what’s next?”

A 3-point contest victory.

Overcoming Phoenix’s poor record to draw an invite to All-Star Saturday Night, Booker won the 3-point contest with a whopping 29 points in the final round.

That score left little margin for 2016 champion Klay Thompson, who capped the event with a 25-point round that was otherwise the night’s high. Clippers forward Tobias Harris, in his new home arena, finished third.

Booker was all smiles after the rare victory.

“Season not going how we planned, but I know a lot of the city was ready for this All-Star Weekend, having somebody participate,” Booker said. “So, I’m glad I could win it.

Where he and the Suns go from here is still questionable, but he has a plan.

“I’m going to win the dunk contest next year,” Booker said. “No, I’m just kidding.”

Full results

First round

Klay Thompson 19

Devin Booker 19

Tobias Harris 18

Wayne Ellington 17

Bradley Beal 15

Eric Gordon 12

Kyle Lowry 11

Paul George 9

Second round

Devin Booker 29

Klay Thompson 25

Tobias Harris 17