The Portland Trail Blazers are not willing to give up on Greg Oden quite yet.
The team offered the oft-injured center a one-year, $8.8 million qualifying offer for next season, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo, on twitter. Oden can sign the offer (and well may), but just by offering it the Blazers reserve the right to match any offer for him. (While the rules may change in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, with this transition class they will almost certainly still have matching rights.)
Basically, think of this as step one of the process. The Blazers can also offer other contracts along with the qualifying offer (hypothetically, say three years $12 million, so less per year to the team but more money overall to Oden, and if he does recover they would have him locked up).
When he’s healthy, Oden has played well and shown flashes of why he was drafted No. 1 overall. But due to knee injuries he has played just 82 games total in four years.
He’s injured again currently and while he is doing rehab he may well not be back on the court until January.
The Blazers had hinted before this offer was coming, that they were invested and were willing to pay again to see if he can get healthy, if he can get right. It’s not a terrible risk, if you’re willing to spend the money. Apparently the Blazers are.
Oden needs to be fully right before he steps back on the court. This comeback, this chance could well be the last one. But he’s going to get paid one more time.