Greg Oden will be taking his talents to South Beach.
The oft-injured center has decided that the Miami Heat are the best fit for his comeback bid and, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the former top-overall pick will sign a two-year deal with the team. The Heat apparently hedged their bets as the deal is worth the veteran’s minimum, but gives Oden the option to opt out next summer if he’s healthy enough to garner a bigger deal.
It was seemingly wise for the Heat to take on such a low risk considering Oden hasn’t played in the NBA since 2009 and has undergone multiple surgeries on both of his knees. If he proves to be healthy, they’ll be getting a steal of the center. If he doesn’t, they’re only out the $1,027,000 veteran’s minimum that he’ll make this season.
Oden will report to Miami on Monday to sign the two-year deal, thereby officially joining the reigning NBA champions and a team that also includes fellow former No. 1 overall pick LeBron James. The 7-foot center will have plenty of other talented players surrounding him as well, as he’ll have the option to work his way into a big man lineup that also includes James, Chris Bosh, Chris Andersen and Udonis Haslem, among others.
It was expected that Oden was going to sign with the Heat for quite awhile considering he’s a natural fit as a true big man and could thrive with the rest of their lineup, but some speculated that pressure might get to him considering the scrutiny Miami has been under since the Big Three joined forces. That apparently wasn’t a problem for the big man, however, and now he’ll attempt to show the world that he’s healthy enough for Miami to have a Big Four — or at least a big 5, as in the center position — instead of just the Big Three.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.