AUGUST 7TH: The Heat have officially signed Oden, the team announced today (Twitter link).
AUGUST 2ND: Greg Oden will sign with the Heat, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. It's a two-year deal with a player option for the final season, Goodman adds. The two sides agreed on a minimum-salary contract, according to fellow ESPN.com scribe Marc Stein, who adds that Oden will officially sign the pact on Monday (Twitter links).
The deal is a coup for Heat president Pat Riley, not only because Oden chose Miami over five other finalists, but because he consented to the minimum salary, tweets Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. That allows the Heat to preserve their mini mid-level exception should an enticing player come available at some point this season.
The Spurs and Mavs appeared as of last night to be Miami's primary competition, with the Pelicans next in line, followed by the Kings and the Hawks. Sources from three Western Conference teams among those spurned finalists told Stein minutes before news broke of Oden's decision that they were informed that they wouldn't be landing the former No. 1 overall pick, and that they believed he was headed to Miami (Twitter link).
Oden tells former Ohio State teammate Mark Titus of Grantland.com that the Heat became the front-runners for him when he visited Miami during the NBA Finals. Three months ago, Oden told Titus that he wanted to play in Cleveland because he liked playing in Ohio. About a year ago, Oden let Titus know that the plan was to reunite in Memphis with Mike Conley, another of their Buckeye teammates. Conley's father, Mike Conley Sr., is one of Oden's agents.
The 7'0" center has only played 82 games in his NBA career, but he was on the Blazers roster for five seasons, meaning he qualifies for a minimum salary of $1,027,424 this season, as Mark Deeks of ShamSports confirms (Twitter link).