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.
“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.