The rumors linking center Greg Oden and the San Antonio Spurs have been numerous this offseason. It seems any report on Oden narrowing his potential list of teams as landing spots next season, have included the Spurs.
But if these rumors are true, it may be that San Antonio is high on his list mainy because of head coach Gregg Popovich's approach to resting players throughout an 82-game season.
Oden is high on the Spurs because of Gregg Popovich's pattern of preserving his best players. Pop is famous, and infamous, for giving Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili extended rest, once even keeping Duncan out of a game completely because the future Hall of Fame forward was "old." As a result, Duncan looked fresh and rejuvenated once the playoffs began.
Oden's history of injuries are well known. He has had two microfracture surgeries on his left knee and one on his right. He also had surgery to repair a broken kneecap. It is no wonder why teams may be scared at locking up the big man to any long-term deal if these injuries are due to a congenital condition which may erupt again.
Coming to the Spurs would help Oden long-term. He wouldn't have the pressure to produce as he did in Portland and with Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter manning the paint, Oden's minutes would be limited. Just enough to slowly come back into the NBA.
The long-term benefits of Oden coming to San Antonio would be great so long as the team doesn't overpay him.
He will have to reassure the Spurs' brass that is is ready to go physically and mentally. His agent is trying to sell him on the Spurs (and Heat) but his agent says his client is in a positive mood.
"His condition, his mindset, it's the best it's ever been," said Mike Conley Sr., Oden's agent and until further notice, Oden's spokesperson. "To sum it up, he's anxious to get started. He can't wait. He's been working hard, working toward this moment, this season. He has a very positive outlook."