According to The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman, the Blazers declined to offer center Greg Oden an $8.8 million qualifying offer today, which was the first day the Blazers had the opportunity to do so. The Blazers have until June 30th to extend Oden the offer — according to Freeman, indications are that the Blazers plan to do so. Giving Oden the offer would make him a restricted free agent.
The Blazers (or any other team) could also explore giving Oden a multi-year contract, which would obviously be a high risk/high reward play. Oden has been brilliant in some areas and shown flashes of immense talent when he’s healthy — when he’s on the court, he could easily be considered one of the five best true centers in the league, and his game still has tons of room to grow. Of course, his knees have both been heavily operated on and he’s played a total of 82 games in four years. It’s a chance to grab a potential franchise center at the absolute nadir of his value, but it carries the risk of giving Oden many millions of dollars to sit on the bench in a suit.
Mike Conley Sr., Oden’s agent, seems very hopeful that somebody will offer Oden a multi-year deal this off-season:
“That would be fantastic,” said Oden’s agent, Mike Conley, regarding a multiyear deal. “We would definitely be excited about that.” Either way, Conley says, Oden would be attractive in free agency: “He’s intriguing to a lot of people. It will all come down to the physical condition Greg is in at the time. He’ll have to prove he’s ready. But if that’s the case, people will be interested.”
Oden’s talent and potential certainly warrant interest. The question now will be whether any team is willing to bet on Oden’s knees and turn that interest into a financial commitment this off-season.