Cleveland (WOIO) - In what seems like another lifetime, but in reality was just six years ago, Greg Oden was the best center in basketball. College basketball, that is. He threw down 15 a game, pulled down just under 10 boards a game, and led the Big Ten in overall rebounds and blocks, leading the Buckeyes to the 2007 National Title game. He went first overall to the Portland Trailblazers, and soon, thanks to multiple knee injuries and surgeries, would see his hoop career unravel, eventually retiring from the game.
A trip to the pre-draft combine in Chicago in late May, though, gave him hope. He held his own against the class of 2013, and started thinking about a comeback. Six weeks later, he has at least five teams ready to give him a shot, including the Cavaliers, but considering they're up against one champion (Miami Heat), one runner-up (San Antonio Spurs), and another contender (Memphis Grizzlies), why would he want to come to Cleveland?
Comfort. Oden's best year in basketball was spent just down the road in Columbus. He still trains there, and would easily become a fan favorite again, if the knees hold up.
Youth. The Cavaliers are building something. They're certainly at least one key All-Star veteran away, and nobody's asking Oden to be that guy, but he could be part of the process, as the Cavs continue on the road back to respectability, and contention.
We know this. It shouldn't come down to money. Whichever team that signs Oden will take a low-risk approach. He has to know, and accept, that. But if he looks back on 2007 as fondly as OSU fans do, the Cavs have a legitimate shot to sign him, and help him get his career back on track.
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