Greg Oden on joining the Heat: ‘If LeBron gets another ring, I get one too’

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Greg Oden had plenty of options in terms of where he could choose to begin his NBA comeback next season.

There were five teams that came away impressed after attending his private workout, and a sixth was reported to have interest, as well.

Oden ultimately decided on the Miami Heat, and the team’s status as championship certified certainly didn’t hurt in the recruiting process. In fact, it may have been one of the key selling points.

From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

“As I told my friends, actually, as they told me, ‘If you take out the possibility of getting hurt again, what other choice is there?’ ” Oden said. “For me, other teams, it was good. But if I take out the possibility of getting hurt, why would I not play with the champs? And, as [friends] told me yesterday, ‘If LeBron decides to get another ring, I get one, too, now.”

And it’ll be well-deserved, I’m sure.

All kidding aside, the reality is that there are a ton of guys with championship rings who did nothing more than act as an extra body in practice, or were simply inactive during the games that mattered while wearing a suit and sitting at the end of the bench.

Juwan Howard is an example from the Heat last season — he played just seven games total in March and April, and didn’t appear in the postseason even once.

Oden’s comments will likely rub people the wrong way, however, because he’s talking about getting a ring before we even know if he’ll be able to contribute at all next season in Miami, let alone in the playoffs or the Finals.

The good news for Oden is that the Heat seemed to add him to the roster for one reason only, and that’s to have another big body to throw at Roy Hibbert in the event they face the Pacers once again on the potential road to a third straight title. The Heat don’t truly need Oden until May, so he has all season and then some to continue work his way back into NBA condition.

But most people would like players to talk about how they are going to help a team before they talk about riding a star’s coattails to get a ring that wasn’t earned, and comments like these aren’t likely going to endear him to fans who otherwise might have rooted for him to successfully return to the court next season.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.

DeMarcus Cousins on Confederate statues: ‘Take all them motherf—ers down’

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DeMarcus Cousins grew up in Alabama, played collegiately at Kentucky and now plays in New Orleans.

So, yeah, the Pelicans star has an opinion on Confederate statues.

Cousins, via TMZ:

“Take all them motherf*ckers down,” Cousins said … “Take ’em all down.”

These statues glorify people because they fought a war against the United States in the name of preserving the racist institution of slavery.

Not whom I want to honor, either.

Kevin Durant: Kyrie Irving-LeBron James situation ‘just a regular NBA problem’

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Kevin Durant knows something about star teammates not always getting along.

So, the Warriors forward is not freaking out about the disconnect between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James and Irving’s subsequent trade request.

Durant, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:

“It’s just a regular NBA problem, right? A lot of teams have gone through this before,” Durant told ESPN. “They’ll figure it out. That’s a great organization, a championship organization. They’ll figure it out.”

“It’s not the end of the world,” Durant said. “Both of those guys won a championship together. They love each other. If Kyrie wants to do something else, that’s on him. I’m sure whatever happens, it’ll work out for the best for both of them. But it’s just a normal NBA problem. It’s just two big stars that it’s happening to.”

Durant is definitely right in the larger sense. Teammates spat and requests trades more often than we realize. Remember, both Irving and the Cavaliers probably prefer this never became public.

But I’m not sure Cleveland will figure this out with the ease Durant suggests. David Griffin, who had proven so adept at putting out these fires, is gone. LeBron’s free agency looms. This could be extremely destructive to the Cavs.

The fact that this “regular NBA problem” became public only intensifies it – and raises it something greater.

Report: Heat signing Jordan Mickey

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Jordan Mickey – the No. 33 pick by the Celtics in 2015 – became the first second-round pick in memory to sign the year he was drafted and receive a higher initial salary than first-round picks.

He’s keeping the checks coming.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Mickey will be the Heat’s 16th player with a standard contract, though Matt Williams (unguaranteed) will likely be waived to meet the regular-season roster limit.

I’m not sure where Mickey fits on this team, which already has several bigs. Hassan Whiteside, Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk will likely play ahead of him. Miami also has A.J. Hammons (who might be just dead salary) and Udonis Haslem (who might provide nothing more than veteran leadership).

The Heat could just see Mickey as someone they can develop. At that point, how he fits into the current roster doesn’t really matter.

Mickey – 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan – is a mobile defender with nice timing for blocking shots inside. He even possesses a work-in-progress 3-pointer in his arsenal. There’s plenty for Miami to help mold.