The Dallas Mavericks are reportedly intersted in signing free agent center Greg Oden, who is only 25 but has had five surgeries on his knees. Three of those surgeries are microfracture surgeries, which are major and usually career changing.
As much of a massive risk as it would be to sign Oden, he's still better than Andrew Bynum, who recently signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Bynum's knees may be better than Oden's, but his head is considerably worse. Take the guy who cares and wants it vs. the baby who is simply looking to collect a check and will play when it's convenient.
Oden hasn't played an NBA game since Dec. 5, 2009 for Portland.
Since he was the No. 1 overall pick out of Ohio State in the 2008 NBA draft, he has played in exactly 82 NBA games. He has averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.
He is raw offensively, but is athletic, can run the floor and change countless shots. His upside is Tyson Chandler - a rim protector who can guard the high pick and roll, finish at the rim, and clean up the many defensive mistakes made by perimeter players.
I don't care what a medical genius Mavs trainer Casey Smith may be, and how much success he had with Chandler, he can't make a man's knees suddenly better if his body refuses to cooperate.
We may simply be looking at a man who is too big for his bones, much like Yao Ming. Or former Indiana Pacers forward lottery pick Jonathan Bender.
On the hopeful side, it took former TCU star and Mavs forward Kurt Thomas years before his health cleared up amid concerns that he had weak bones; KT is 40, and recently completed 18th NBA season.
At this point, since the Mavs have elected to be competitive rather than tank it for Andrew Wiggins, they have to have a player in the middle. Samuel Dalembert is a backup, whereas the upside on Oden is All-Starish.
Chances are his knees won't hold up, but the Mavs should roll the dice because at least his head will be in the game.
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