Something about Oden just screams Celtics big man. It's not just because he looks like Bill Russell's son. It has more to do with Oden's defensive gifts, and his classic size for the pivot position.
The Celtics' identity has become all about defense since they won the NBA title in 2008. Oden's size, rebounding and shot-blocking would be ideal alongside Kevin Garnett—assuming the Celtics bring him back for another year.
The size across the frontcourt would rival any team in the NBA. Acquiring Oden would also deal a blow to their bitter rivals from South Beach.
All the talk and speculation around Oden is great, but it's all contingent on the big man staying healthy. He has played in only 82 games since being selected first in the 2007 NBA Draft.
His physical availability is far from a sure thing.
The Celtics have a history of acquiring aging and/or injured big men. Could Oden follow in Bill Walton's footsteps? He never experienced the level of play Walton did with the Portland Trail Blazers, but there are some similarities.
Both big men were taken No. 1 overall by the Blazers, and injuries led to Walton's exit from Portland, much the same way Oden's physical issues led to his exit from the organization.
Walton did play play with the San Diego Clippers before joining the Celtics in the 1985-86 campaign, but Walton was forced to sit out multiple seasons because of injury.
Oden hasn't played since the 2009-10 season. When he returns in 2013, he will have missed the last three NBA seasons and his entire rookie year.
Celtics fans should proceed with caution to their excitement. They will have competition for Oden's services, and acquiring him is just half the battle.
On the bright side, he just turned 25 years old. He's averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks playing just 22 minutes per game. There is still tremendous upside for him.
The team that signs Oden could be grabbing the bargain of the offseason. Stay tuned, this should be an interesting story to follow in the next few months.