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Miami Heat Rumors: Greg Oden Would Be Great Low-Risk Addition to Team

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 04:  Greg Oden #52 of  the Portland Trail Blazers waits for play against the Los Angeles Lakers on January 4, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 100-86.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2013

The Miami Heat have been busy looking for ways to improve their frontcourt over the past few weeks. Despite the recent flurry of moves, yet another name has emerged: Greg Oden.

Although the former No. 1 pick has not played a game since 2009, he is planning a comeback and has received a lot of interest from teams around the NBA.

According to Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports, the center has narrowed down his choices to the Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers:

The 7-foot Oden...is hoping to take a visit down to Miami to meet with Pat Riley and the Heat in the next week, a source told CBSSports.com.

Miami would likely offer a deal for minimum salary while the Cavs could pay up to nearly $4 million. The Boston Celtics are another team that has expressed interest, but the source said that Oden is leaning towards making a comeback with either Cleveland or Miami.

If he were to sign with the Heat, he would be the latest on a list of frontcourt players brought in to solve the team's biggest problem: rebounding.

Miami is currently dead last in the NBA in rebounds per game at 39.5. While the team is slightly better in rebounding percentage, it is still among the worst in the league.

This is not something that has hurt the team too much over the course of the season, but it will certainly come up against the tougher opponents in the postseason. 

As a response, the Heat have signed both Jarvis Varnado and Chris Anderson to 10-day contracts. So far, the two have combined to play only three games and 16 total minutes.

Coach Erik Spoelstra has not given these players much of a chance to succeed in the frontcourt, but Oden could be a reasonable option if he feels these two cannot get it done.

In his two shortened seasons in the NBA, the forward showed the potential that caused the Portland Trail Blazers to draft him with the first overall pick. He averaged seven rebounds per game in his rookie season and improved that number to 8.5 in his second year.

His 17.1 rebounds per 48 minutes in his sophomore season would have ranked fourth in the NBA that season if he had qualified.

It is likely that the coaching staff would like to bring Oden along slowly after missing so much time, but he has the chance to truly help this team if he is healthy.

For Oden, this gives him a chance to redeem himself on a team that can contend for an NBA championship. Even with less money on the table, it would certainly be a more enjoyable experience than playing for the 13-32 Cavaliers. 

The Heat have to make a change in order to be successful this season. Whether that means changing up the rotation to go bigger or adding players from other places, something must be done.

Oden represents an opportunity to get better without costing more than just a roster spot and a league-minimum salary. This makes him an option that the organization should pursue aggressively.

 

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