The world remains very, very unfair. According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, Greg Oden will sign a two-year contract with the Miami Heat worth the league minimum (two-years, $2.1 million). The second year is a player option.
The 25-year-old former No. 1 overall pick told ESPN that Miami is the best place for him, since it presumably gives him a chance to snag meaningful minutes and offers the potential to win a NBA title. The San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings were also vying for Oden's services.
Oden has underwent several career-threatening microfracture surgeries on both knees, including an arthroscopic procedure to remove debris in his right knee last February. Oden appeared in 82 games in two seasons, averaging 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in 22.1 minutes per game. Despite the "bust" moniker, since Kevin Durant emerged as a transcendent talent, Oden swallowed up rebounds and protected the rim at elite rates in limited time — several debilitating injuries and persistent foul trouble undercut his potential. He hasn't appeared in a NBA game since December 5, 2009.
Oden admitted to a myriad of psychological issues in an interview with Grantland last year, including an alcohol addiction that plagued his transient playing career. The alcoholism stemmed, Oden said, in part because of the nasty fallout of a widely circulated photo of his genitals.
Nabbing Oden is assuming a ton of risk, though his meager salary (likely between $800,000 and $1.4 million per year) effectively eliminates the liability. San Antonio's final roster spot remains vacant, and that still gives the front office a wide array of possibilities, even though the market is depleted of immediate impact role players.