Greg Oden is going to be a project in Miami.
First part of that is just getting him healthy, and the Heat have focused on rehab and getting him in the best shape possible before he steps on the court.
But the second part is what happens on the court — he hasn’t played in an NBA game in nearly four years. There’s rust and there is relearning old habits (and a few new ones).
Heat legend Alonzo Mourning — a player development specialist with the Heat — said he looks forward to working with Oden, he told Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel.
“Extremely excited, extremely excited,” he said by phone, “because I understand the potential that he has….
“I think we all, as an organization, are looking forward to working with him, developing him, so that he can be a part of this organization for years to come….
“I know that if healthy, the impact that he can have on this franchise,” Mourning said. “Just him being 25 years old, I feel that the longevity of the possibility of him playing, that longevity will continue to stimulate a winning opportunity with the organization.”
Let’s get him out there and see him play a game before we talk longevity.
That said, in a limited role the potential is clear. There are plenty of people around the league rooting for Oden (even though he is on the Heat). It’s a bit of “there but for the grace of God” syndrome — his injuries were not some kind of personal flaws but rather unlucky breaks for a guy widely liked. People want to see him get a measure of redemption.
That includes Mourning, who can help some firsthand.
That Carmelo Anthony started the first game he played for Portland speaks to why they signed him in the first place — this team is so shorthanded along the front line that the guy they just signed got thrown into the fire.
Anthony responded with a solid level of play. His first bucket was a wing three where both defenders went to CJ McCollum and left ‘Melo wide open.
Anthony played 12 minutes in the first half and had 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block, and three fouls. The team was looking to keep him at around 20 minutes for his first game back.
Portland led New Orleans 54-53 at the half.
Just how close did Jeff David come to getting away with embezzling $13.4 million from the Kings while working for them? He already secured a new job with the Heat and was in the process of moving from Sacramento to Miami.
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:
On this Monday, walking through the Davids’ new front door is a dizzying procession of cable guys, utility workers and movers. Amid all of this, Jeff receives a phone call from a former co-worker with the Kings. Her name is Stacy Wegzyn, and she works in HR. Jeff last remembers sitting in her office in Sacramento just months earlier, being told that the Kings were going to eliminate his position. After a few pleasantries, she gets down to business. She tells Jeff she’s been going through his old files, and in doing so she found one labeled “TurboTax” that references an entity called Sacramento Sports Partners.
“I was just curious what that is and if those are documents that should go to somebody else,” Wegzyn says.
It’s a seemingly innocuous inquiry from an HR lifer. But it’s one that will dictate the rest of Jeff David’s life. If he knows that — or senses it — he doesn’t let on.
“No, no, no,” Jeff responds. “That was a … man, this is taking me back. Maybe 2015?”
Wegzyn presses on. She asks Jeff whether the documents contain anything that anyone with the Kings needs to see. Jeff assures her they can trash them because the entity isn’t around anymore. A few minutes after he hangs up, his mother-in-law, Nancy, is standing at the front door when an FBI investigator appears, asking to speak to Jeff.
If you like the NBA or true crime – let alone both – I HIGHLY recommend reading Arnovitz’s full piece. It’s riveting!
At least someone on the Warriors is getting healthy.
Big man Kevon Looney, who played opening night and has since been sidelined with a sore hamstring and neuropathy (what the team described as “nerve-related symptoms”), has been cleared to return to on-court basketball activities, the team announced Tuesday. From the official press release:
He will participate in select practice sessions with the Santa Cruz Warriors this week and will re-join the Golden State Warriors over the weekend. We will continue to monitor his progress and will provide another update on his status on Sunday.
Looney has already been officially assigned to Santa Cruz.
This is good news for the Warriors, who have been starting Willie Cauley-Stein but desperately need more shot blocking and depth up front.
Anyone getting healthy is good news for a Warriors team that is 2-12 and has the worst net rating in the NBA (-10.4).
Carmelo Anthony will wear No. 00 with the Trail Blazers.
Apparently because 00 kind of looks like ∞.
Somewhere, Kyrie Irving is nodding in support.
In terms of numbers that make sense…
Marc J. Spears of ESPN:
That’s a sizable role for a 35-year-old in his first game in more than a year. But Portland needs scoring with Damian Lillard sidelined, and – at last check (though, again, a while ago), Anthony was accustomed to big minutes.
Besides, we all want ample opportunity to see Anthony back on the court after his lengthy absence.