Miami Heat v Sacramento Kings

Greg Oden activated, will be in uniform and could play vs. Wizards Wednesday


Greg Oden could play in an NBA Game tonight for the first time since Dec. 5, 2009.

The Miami Heat have activated Oden and he is in uniform as the Heat take on the Wizards in Washington, reports Tom Haberstoh of ESPN as well as other sources.

Whether he gets on the court or not remains to be seen, but the Heat are a little thin at the center spot. Well, they were already but now they are even thinner — Chris Andersen is out with a knee issue (according to Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report) and the Heat traded Joel Anthony to Boston in a salary dump earlier in the day. Anthony’s removal freed up a roster spot and Oden is in it.

Oden did play for the Heat in the preseason — four minutes in one game against the Pelicans. The first time he touched the ball he dunked it, but that was pretty much it. All season he has been on Miami’s inactive list.

Oden was the former No. 1 pick of the Portland Trail Blazers who saw injuries derail his career — he has had seven knee surgeries total, including three microfracture surgeries. Most people would have given up and moved on with their lives, Oden wanted to prove he could get back and has worked toward that goal for years.

Miami can afford to be patient with Oden as they don’t need him to win a lot of regular season games — the Heat do that already — it’s more about playoff matchups. Particularly the seemingly inevitable Eastern Conference Finals matchup against Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers.

That matchup is why the Heat may still sign Andrew Bynum, but that’s’ a post for another time.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.

As expected, Jimmy Butler says no issue between him, Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler
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Is the Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler relationship nothing but puppy dogs and rainbows? No. There will be sparks between two intense competitors.

Have those sparks started a fire Bulls fans should be concerned about? A report on Wednesday said the core problem was Butler doesn’t respect Rose’s work ethic, which provided some kindling for that spark to catch.

However, as you would expect, Butler said this was all much ado about nothing, that he and Rose are all good. Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Spin this however you wish: Their relationship is fine and someone in the media is making this up; or their relationship has been rough, and this is all just leaking out now.

This is a Bulls team in a bit of a transition as Rose declines some and Butler has grown into a top-flight player. Clearly that dynamic has some people around the team — likely the people in one of one of the players’ camps doesn’t like the power struggle or where it leaves his buddy — talking out of school to the press.

But as Butler noted, winning cures all ills. If Chicago can get off to a fast start, nobody will be asking chemistry questions.

For now, however, tounges are wagging.