|Joel Przybilla is reportedly headed back to Portland. (Getty Images)|
It takes a brave man to play center for the Portland Trail Blazers, and no one ever accused Joel Przybilla of being weak-hearted.
Przybilla, an unrestricted free agent center, has reportedly agreed to sign a 1-year contract with the Blazers for the remainder of the 2011-2012 season, according to Yahoo Sports and The Oregonian. The deal, which reportedly isn't expected to be official until this week, will reunite Przybilla with the team he spent 6.5 years with, prior to a 2011 trade deadline deal that sent him to the Charlotte Bobcats.
The news of the expected signing comes just days after the Blazers announced center Greg Oden underwent season-ending microfracture knee surgery.
Przybilla has not played during the lockout-shortened season, although his name had come up in rumors linking him to the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks.
Known for clogging the middle on defense, and giving hard fouls, Przybilla was a locker room leader for the Blazers before being included in the deal that landed forward Gerald Wallace from Charlotte. Przybilla's playing time was limited during the 2010-2011 season, as he was working his way back from multiple knee surgeries. He will add depth behind starting center Marcus Camby and help fill out a frontcourt that includes All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, Kurt Thomas and the seldom-used Craig Smith and Chris Johnson.
Camby is in the final year of his contract and could be a potential trade chip for the Blazers. Przybilla's presence could potentially make Camby more expendable.
Portland currently has 15 players on its roster, meaning a player will need to be released or traded to make room for Przybilla's signing. Oden is a likely candidate, as Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan said this week that it was possible that he would be released following his latest surgery.
Chris Johnson and second-year guard Armon Johnson are both on minimum-salary contracts so they theoretically could be potential casualties as well. Chris Johnson is Portland's fifth big man and has not seen much time but he has shown flashes in his limited minutes, and he's well-regarded by management. Armon Johnson has played even less, spending most of the season on the inactive list and has appeared in just 1 game, playing five minutes, this year.
Przybilla, 32, is a fan favorite in Portland and has posted career averages of 4.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.