The Miami Heat have been linked with Greg Oden lately, as rumors surfaced of both parties potentially being interested in a signing. During his season wrap-up press conference, Pat Riley addressed the availability of the free agent big man, and confirmed that the team will explore the option of signing the former No. 1 overall pick. He also compared Oden’s injury woes to other big men:
“We visited,’’ Riley said. “Greg was in Miami with his agent, Mike Conley Sr., and we had a good two-day visit. We will explore that and see where it goes because of the possibilities. There’s been a lot of players. You go back to look at (Zydrunas) Ilgauskas. He had nothing but foot problems for about four years and everybody thought it was over. And the same thing happened with Kurt Thomas at the beginning of his career. There’s been a lot of players young in their careers that have had chronic injuries that somewhere… it doesn’t happen to them anymore. I think he’s such a young player and to be such a force, that you’d want to monitor him very closely. So we will do that.’’
While the Heat will be exploring the option of signing Oden, he is likely to garner interest from other teams as well. The Cleveland Cavaliers is one team that has been interested in Oden, but the NBA draft could change the team’s needs.