The wait is over. Greg Oden will be back on an NBA roster next season. The former No. 1 pick by the Portland Trail Blazers told ESPN on Friday that he's chosen to sign with the Miami Heat next season.
Oden said it was a "big deciding factor" that Heat officials made it clear to him that he "wouldn't be needed as much early in the season" as he works his way back from more than three years out of the league.
"When I had a conversation with Coach (Erik) Spoelstra and hearing how much he knew about the training stuff that I was already doing, it kind of made me feel like they know what's best for me," Oden said in a phone interview.
"I'm not going to sit here and say I'm 100 percent," Oden added. "I am moving (well) and I am feeling good, but I have a lot of work to do."
Oden also told ESPN that he may not be ready to start the season. He last played a game on Dec. 5, 2009, so that's not really encouraging that he may still not be ready.
The deal is said to be for two seasons, with a player option for the second season. Oden had been working out for teams and was said to be very mobile and moving smoothly. How that works alongside news that he may not be ready for the start of the season seems a bit off, but whatever.
The move is a low-risk signing for Miami that gives them a high-upside player that if worst comes to worst, simply fills out a roster spot. They have every reason to gamble on this, and for Oden, it comes with the least pressure. Signing somewhere like Cleveland or even Dallas would have brought a lot more attention, something Oden has struggled with during his numeous rehab attempts since knee injuries first derailed his career before the start of his rookie season in 2007.
So Oden joins the Heat, and a saga that has gone on for over a year comes to a close for now. Now the big question seems like it will finally get an answer: Will Greg Oden ever play in the NBA again? This is most assuredly his last chance.