The Raptors and Greg Oden
The Blazers waived Oden Thursday because they needed to create roster room to accommodate all the Portland players acquired earlier in the day in separate trades with New Jersey and Houston.
In his five pro seasons since the Blazers selected him No. 1 overall ahead of Kevin Durant in the 2007 NBA draft, Oden has appeared in only 82 games and endured five knee surgeries.
ESPN.com reported in December that Oden's salary for this season was negotiated down from nearly $9 million to $1.5 million after yet another health setback. The Blazers were then forced to announce last month that Oden would need another microfracture procedure on his left knee and kept him on the roster until now, sources said, partly because they thought they might need to plug Oden's contract into a deal before Thursday's 3 p.m. trade deadline.
It remains to be seen whether Oden, because of his modest salary, is claimed on waivers even though he isn't expected to try to resume his career until well into the 2012-13 season.
When asked about Oden's future plans and whether he will be pressing to find a new team during free agency starting in July, agent Bill Duffy and Mike Conley Sr. said in a statement Thursday: "We will be in no rush. The first priority is Greg's health ... with no timeline."
The Raptors have roster space. If they cut Alabi, Oden's net impact on the cap is around half of the $1.5M number. So the question is asked, is Oden worth a token roster spot and a net amount of around $700K to reserve the rights to match any offer for him when he's ready to resume his career? Even if he can only play half a season, each season for the rest of his career, which would be a great improvement, the impact he could have coming off the bench for a team for those games could be significant. On the flip side he could just eventually give up and retire. I think his worst case is Yao Ming's fate, his best case is Marcus Camby type impact. Is he worth a small gamble?