It looks like NBA teams targeting former Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden to plug into the middle down the stretch will have to look elsewhere. According to Fox Sports' Sam Amico, Oden is continuing his rehabilitation through the remainder of the 2012-13 NBA season and will not make a decision regarding a comeback until at least July:
Former NBA center Greg Oden will not decide on his next team until July, sources close to the situation told FOX Sports Ohio. The No. 1 overall draft pick in 2007 is making a comeback after three microfracture knee surgeries. Oden last played in the NBA in December 2009 with Portland.
There had been a rush to speculation after news broke that the 2007 No. 1 overall pick was considering a return for the end of this season. Ultimately, that plan was scrapped, but the possibility remained that Oden would sign with a team after the trade deadline so he could get acclimated to his new organization.
After three full seasons away from an NBA floor, it seems like Oden is determined to do his due diligence before making any long-term plans.
Once considered the next great center of his generation, Oden's career in Portland was mired in injuries. He played in just 82 games—the length of one NBA season—and has not been on the hardwood since the 2009-10 campaign.
It was during that campaign that Oden finally started making good on his immense potential. The seven-footer was averaging 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game while playing a little under 24 minutes per contest, and he had the look of a potentially dominant force in the middle.
It ultimately all came crashing down in a wave of injuries. Oden was released by the Blazers last March, ending a tenure that was seemingly destined for failure before it started.
Now it seems that Oden finally has a plan in place, and teams will hope that they share a fate far different than Portland come next season.
Oft-mentioned among Oden's suitors were the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers. CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman reported in late January that the two organizations had emerged as heavy favorites to land Oden, and that may still be the case this coming summer.
The appeal of both organizations is strong, but for different reasons. Cleveland represents a homecoming for Oden, who has been taking classes at Ohio State during his recovery. Miami is the defending NBA champion, and many view the Heat as one top-shelf center away from dominating the next half-decade.