For a guy who hasn’t set foot on an NBA court since 2009 and whose ability to contribute remains in question, there is a lot of effort going into the recruiting of Greg Oden.
Miami and San Antonio remain the front-runners to land the center and former No. 1 pick, and the Dallas Mavericks are pushing their way into the mix also.
Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that the Pelicans have been booked for a Wednesday sitdown with Oden and will also get serious consideration from the former No. 1 overall pick as he decides where to relaunch his career after being sidelined since early in the 2009-10 season.
The Pelicans, sources said, are building their pitch around the fact that going to New Orleans would enable Oden to make his comeback far away from the media glare and with no immediate pressure to cope with as he tries again to bounce back from the knee issues that have limited the 25-year-old to just 82 career regular-season games since being drafted in 2007.
Ahh, the old “nobody pays attention to us, so come here” pitch. Interesting tactic. Certainly if Oden does sign on with Miami there would be much more media attention. Then again, as you can tell from just his recruitment, whenever Oden lands there will be attention paid to him.
Miami still remains the most likely landing spot, as Pat Riley has worked to forge this relationship. But Oden has listened to both Dallas and will now listen to New Orleans — teams that could spend more than the league minimum on a deal for Oden if they so wished (Miami cannot).
Oden is wisely going to take his time with this decision; he has no reason to rush it.