Mavericks a 'legit' contender to land Greg Oden
Sometime this summer, former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden is expected to pick a team to play for next season. As previously reported, last season's NBA Finals participants, the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat, are among his preferences, as are the Cleveland Cavaliers. But as Marc Stein of ESPN tweeted Thursday, Oden will also give "legit consideration" to the Dallas Mavericks.
The list of teams the 25-year-old has been considering has shifted at times; at one point this past spring, the former Portland Trail Blazers center who missed all of last season because of chronic knee injuries, was reportedly thinking about playing for the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Mavericks are in pursuit of the former Portland Trail Blazers center now that the team lost out on the sweepstakes for Dwight Howard, who took his talents to the Houston Rockets. It remains to be seen whether the Cavaliers remain interested in Oden now that the team signed Andrew Bynum this week, who also missed all of last season, to a two-year contract worth $24 million.
As Stein reported, the Mavs reached out to Oden this week even before they decided to end their pursuit of Bynum. The former Ohio State standout has seen limited time in the NBA because of multiple knee surgeries. Since being selected No. 1 by the Blazers in the 2007 draft, he has appeared in only 82 games, averaging 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds. He maintains that he's worked his way back into NBA game-ready shape and plans to play next season.
As Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported this week, Dallas is also interested in Milwaukee Bucks free agent center Samuel Dalembert, who played well in games when Larry Sanders was out because of injuries or suspensions, but also saw limited playing time, making 47 appearances last season and averaging 6.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 16 minutes per game.
https://twitter.com/ESPNSteinLine/status/355164401860476929 SI Wire: Chauncey Billups returns to Pistons on 2-year, $5M deal