Greg Oden

And-Ones: Oden, Casspi, One-And-Done, Loyd

Sixty teams have been announced for this summer’s The Basketball Tournament, a 64-team, $2MM, winner-take-all competition, writes Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. While no NBA players will play in the tournament, several ex-NBAers – including Sundiata Gaines, Donte Greene, and former No. 1 pick Greg Oden – will participate, and some current NBA players will be coaches.

Let’s round up a few more items from around the basketball world…

  • Omri Casspi, who was formerly represented by Dan Fegan, has changed agents and signed with CAA Sports, per Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal (Twitter link). Casspi, whose change in representation was reported last month in the wake of Fegan’s legal troubles, will be a free agent this offseason.
  • Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer takes a deep dive into the changes the NBA may eventually make to the current one-and-done system for players coming out of high school, noting that many team execs don’t necessarily agree with commissioner Adam Silver on the matter.
  • D-League guard Jordan Loyd is drawing some NBA interest, according to international reporter David Pick, who tweets that Loyd will attend a Nets free agent mini-camp, then will audition for the Clippers and play in Summer League with the Pacers. The 23-year-old averaged 15.1 PPG in 49 games for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in 2016/17.
  • In a pair of pieces for Basketball Insiders, James Blancarte and Spencer Davies identify several potential trade candidates in both the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference.

And-Ones: Free Agents, D-League, Bennett, Oden

Several under-the-radar players who will be free agents this summer are improving their bargaining position with their performance in the playoffs, writes Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. He identifies six players, starting with Golden State big man JaVale McGee, who is averaging 8.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks through five games despite playing just 11.8 minutes per night. McGee signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Warriors for the veteran’s minimum and could be in line for a huge pay raise in July. The others that Kennedy singles out are Serge Ibaka of the Raptors, Joe Ingles of the Jazz, Nene of the Rockets, Andre Roberson of the Thunder and Deron Williams of the Cavaliers.

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • The Texas Legends, the Mavericks‘ affiliate in the D-League, have given coach Bob MacKinnon a two-year extension, tweets D-League Digest. The D-League veteran is in his first season with the Legends.
  • Invitations have been issued for the D-League’s Elite Mini Camp, which will be held May 8-9 in Chicago, relays Chris Reichert of FanSided. Many players have used this showcase to earn spots on summer league rosters, with alumni such as Jonathon Simmons, Hollis Thompson and DeAndre Liggins. Among the best-known names at this year’s camp will be Russ Smith, JaKarr Sampson, Ray McCallum and Cliff Alexander.
  • Former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, who played 23 games for the Nets this season, has been replaced on his Fenerbahce team in Turkey, according to Bugra Uzar of Eurohoops. Taking his spot on the roster is Pero Antic, who played for the Hawks from 2013 to 2015. Bennett will remain with the club and is expected to be part of the upcoming EuroLeague Final Four.
  • Greg Oden, another former No. 1 pick, is hoping to be part of The Basketball Tournament this summer on ESPN, relays Alysha Tsuji of USA Today. Oden’s team is called Scarlet and Gray and is made up of Ohio State alumni. “We think we’re a team that can win it,” he said. “We look at the talent we’ve had here in the last 10 years or so, and we can match up with anybody. We want the state of Ohio supporting us. We’re called Scarlet and Gray, but this team is a representation of the whole state.”

And-Ones: D-League, BIG3, Greg Oden

A pair of former NBA players have signed D-League contracts, according to Chris Reichert of The Step Back, who reports (via Twitter) that Duje Dukan and Stephane Lasme are joining the league. Dukan played a single game last season for the Kings before returning to Croatia, while Lasme last saw NBA action way back in 2007/08 for the Warriors and Heat. Lasme has spent the last several years in Europe, though he received a suspension in 2016 for a failed doping test.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The new BIG3 league, which will debut this summer, has secured coaching commitments from Rick Barry, Clyde Drexler, and Rick Mahorn, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein (via Twitter). Previous reports have indicated that George Gervin and Gary Payton will also serve as coaches in the eight-team, three-on-three league.
  • While former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden has referred to himself in the past as the biggest bust in NBA history, he walked those comments back a little in a conversation with Dana O’Neil of Outside The Lines. “If you’re out there and you can’t do it, that makes you a bust,” Oden said. “Well, I was never really out there. I was never Greg Oden in the NBA.” Check out O’Neil’s piece for more from Oden, who hasn’t ruled out the possibility of pursuing a coaching or personnel job in the future.
  • In a piece for The Step Back, Reichert identifies several D-League players who made unexpectedly strong impressions as last week’s NBA D-League Showcase. It remains to be seen whether the players singled out by Reichert will be able to land 10-day contracts with NBA teams this season, but they could at least be in line for larger roles on their respective D-League clubs.

And-Ones: Oden, Durant, DeRozan

Kevin Durant doesn’t believe Greg Oden should be considered the biggest bust in NBA history, as he tells Chris Haynes of ESPN.com“Nonsense. That’s nonsense,” Durant exclaimed. “In order for you to be a bust, you have to actually play and show people that you progressed as a player. He didn’t get a chance to.” Oden was the only player selected ahead of Durant in the 2007 draft.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Durant added that he initially wanted to be drafted by the Blazers, Haynes writes in the same piece. “I definitely wanted to be the No. 1 pick, but I landed in a great situation,” Durant said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better. I would love to play with LaMarcus [Aldridge] and Brandon Roy, but when I was the second pick, I was very excited to get to Seattle. We had traded Ray Allen, like, two picks later, and I was like, ‘Wow. They’re really opening it up for me and really allowing me to grow as a player.’ So I didn’t even worry about being the No. 1 pick after that. Once we traded Ray Allen, I was like, ‘This is my team.’ They’re going to allow me to grow and make my mistakes. So I was looking forward to it.”
  • DeMar DeRozan has been sensational this season and he credits his summer dedication for the elevation in his game, Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun writes. “I didn’t get to enjoy the summer,” DeRozan said. “It was really one of them summers where it was just a sickening dedication to where I had a lot of days where it was [difficult]. It was really tough to be that self-motivated. It was all on me. It was no one saying you have to do it. I wanted to do it.” The shooting guard re-signed with the Raptors over the summer on a deal that will pay him $139MM over five years.

Oden: I’ll Go Down As “Biggest Bust In NBA History”

Former number one overall pick Greg Oden believes he’ll go down as the biggest bust in NBA history, as Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com writes. The ex-Blazers center, who has talked in the past about his place among the most disappointing draft picks in league history, made his latest comment to ESPN’s Outside The Lines.

“I’ll be remembered as the biggest bust in NBA history,” Oden said. “But I can’t do nothing about that.”

The former Trail Blazers center, who appeared in just 105 total NBA games due to a history of knee injuries, also reiterated statements he has made about shutting down any attempts at a return to the court. Oden made an effort last season to revive his playing career in China, but acknowledges now that it’s no longer a possibility, even if he’d like it to be.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Oden said. “If I was healthy, I would love to continue playing, but I’m not healthy.”

Oden is currently back at Ohio State University, working with the basketball team and taking classes in an effort to complete his degree.

What do you think? Is Oden’s self-assessment harsh, but fair? Or would you consider another player as a bigger bust than 2007’s first overall pick?

Greg Oden Admits Basketball Career Is Over

With his basketball career behind him, former No. 1 pick Greg Oden is trying to move on to the next chapter of his life, writes Dana Hunsinger Benbow of The Indianapolis Star.

Oden has re-enrolled at Ohio State, where he dominated the Big 10 a decade ago. Now 28, he is a sophomore sports industry major and speaks about his basketball career in the past tense.

“I wish,” he said when asked about playing again. “It’s over.”

It’s a difficult end for the can’t-miss prospect whom the Trail Blazers drafted ahead of Kevin Durant in 2007. Oden was a 7-foot freshman who led the Buckeyes to the national championship game and was expected to quickly become one of the NBA’s top centers. Instead, he suffered through a series of injuries that limited him to 82 games in two seasons in Portland and 23 in a season with Miami.

Oden got a four-year, $22MM contract from the Blazers, but had to sit out his rookie season after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee. A foot injury took away the early part of the next season, which was later cut short by another knee injury.

After 21 games in 2009/10, Oden suffered a patella injury that required another microfracture surgery. A setback in rehab was followed by two more surgeries.

“Honestly, it was definitely unbelievable,” Oden saids. “With the third injury in a row, I was like, ‘Are you kidding me right now?'”

Oden tried to revive his basketball career last season in China, but he was cut in January. He made headlines for a domestic violence incident in 2014, but has mostly been out of the spotlight since leaving Miami. He became a father for the first time five weeks ago and is looking to move on from basketball.

“I wouldn’t say I regret anything,” Oden said. “I would say I just wish I did things better.”

And-Ones: Newton, Oden, Execs, Camp Deals

Former Timberwolves general manager Milt Newton departed from the franchise last year, when Flip Saunders‘ passing led to an overhaul of the club’s front office and coaching staff. However, he remains interested in returning to an NBA front office, telling Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that he wouldn’t be opposed to an assistant GM role. No teams have approached him about executive positions since his departure from Minnesota though, according to Milton.

“A young guy like Milt should have teams calling him if not to be a GM, to be a part of their organization,” Former Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars told Spears. “He did a great job in Minnesota. He built a young team. He’s a great dude. He works well. He’s one of the best young talents in the league. What more can you ask for?”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former first overall pick Greg Oden has returned to Ohio State to finish working toward his college degree, a source tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). While the former Trail Blazers center is in Columbus, he’ll also help out at Buckeyes’ practices, says Rothstein.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders lists six top basketball executives who could find themselves on the hot seat at some point in the not-so-distant future if their respective teams don’t play well in 2016/17.
  • With training camps around the NBA having gotten underway this week, Bobby Marks of The Vertical delves into the training camp contract, explaining how they work and how different language in deals affects a players’ preseason earnings and injury protection (or lack thereof).
  • The Lakers‘ signing of Timofey Mozgov has received plenty of criticism this offseason, but Los Angeles won’t be the only team with buyers’ remorse this fall, according to Mitch Lawrence of Forbes.com, who identifies five other clubs that may come to regret their summer deals.

And-Ones: Oden, Sampson, Lee

Mavs power forward David Lee struggled to get into shape this season following the Warriors‘ NBA title run of last season and turned some heads when he said that he finally committed himself to getting fit when he fell out of the Celtics‘ rotation in preparation for joining another team, Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com writes. Despite the negative implications of Lee’s remarks, Boston coach Brad Stevens isn’t upset with his former player, Forsberg notes. “I don’t know if that is semantics or how he meant to say it,” Stevens said. “I think the biggest thing that he was probably saying there was that, when you’re not playing, you have to find other ways to stay ready. And maybe I’m wrong. But I think that he certainly took [to his] diet, he worked out hard — he worked out hard enough that if he would have played, he would have been gassed in the games. Sometimes you can’t do that if you’re going to be playing 15 minutes per night. He was going two or three times hard per day during that stretch. So, no, I wasn’t frustrated by it. In fact it set a pretty good example for the other guys that weren’t playing.

Stevens also acknowledged the difficult spot Lee was placed in with him not being in the team’s regular rotation, Forberg writes. “That was hard. That was really hard. And it was harder on [Lee] than anybody else, but we talked about it a lot,” Stevens said. “We didn’t have hardly any injuries with our bigs and we had a lot of bigs that, especially at the end of games, were going to be relatively the same position. And so it put a lot of guys on the bench. And it was different guys at different times. To his credit, when we eventually settled on playing others, he handled it really well. Kudos to him. I’m happy he’s doing well.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Former NBA top pick Greg Oden was released by the Jiangsu Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association recently, but he appreciates the opportunity that the club gave him, Joshua Bateman of USA Today writes. “It was a great opportunity for me to come and just play basketball, which I haven’t been able to do for awhile,” Oden said. “They got me playing. For me, that’s all I can say. I’ve had a lot of years where I actually just couldn’t play and this year I’m actually able to be out there on the court and play 25 minutes when I never thought I would see over 20 minutes in a game. And I’m playing three games a week. For me, that’s just something I didn’t even think I would ever be able to do.”
  • Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) has released his latest mock draft and his current top three players are Ben Simmons of LSU, Duke’s Brandon Ingram and Croatian big man Dragan Bender.
  • JaKarr Sampson‘s contract with the Nuggets doesn’t contain any guaranteed salary beyond this season, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reveals (Twitter link), resolving earlier reports that conflicted. It’s a two-year pact for the minimum salary.
  • Joe Johnson gave back exactly $3MM in his buyout from the Nets, reports Pincus relays (Twitter link).
  • Kris Humphries agreed to forfeit precisely $1MM as part of his buyout with the Suns, Pincus also notes (Twitter links)

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

And-Ones: Oden, D-League, NBA Draft

The NBA is enamored with the idea of expanding rosters from the current regular season maximum of 15 to as many as 17 as part of the next CBA, with the additional spots to be designated for two-way D-League contracts, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com writes. While the concept is still very much in the planning stages, the current idea is that the D-League portion of the contracts would be valued in the neighborhood of $75K to $100K per season, according to the NBA.com scribe. If the player were called up to the NBA, he would then earn a prorated portion of his NBA salary, Howard-Cooper adds.

I think it’s something that makes a lot of sense for our league,” D-League president Malcolm Turner said. “I don’t want to get ahead of where we are, in terms of planning conversations, but I think it’s clearly a logical next step in our evolution. As you expand, you have rosters to fill, and we want to do so in a way that allows us to add more and better talent to the league faster. A two-way system can be facilitating.

Here’s the latest from around the league:

  • Former 2007 No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden was released by the Jiangsu Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association recently, throwing his playing future into question, Doug Lesmerises of The Northeast Ohio Media Group writes. Oden indicated that his deal with Jiangsu was month-to-month, so letting him go saved the team a month’s worth of salary, Lesmerises notes. When asked if he intended to continue his playing career, Oden said, “I mean, if the opportunity is there, and it’s the right opportunity, of course. I’ve just got to look at the opportunities. I haven’t heard about anything yet. I’ll take what I can.” Oden last appeared in the NBA during the 2013/14 campaign when he played in 23 games for the Heat.
  • LSU’s Ben Simmons, Duke’s Brandon Ingram and Croatian big man Dragan Bender top the latest 2016 NBA draft rankings from ESPN’s Chad Ford (Insider subscription required).
  • One factor contributing to why the Knicks fired Derek Fisher prior to the All-Star break is that the league office frowns upon teams parting ways with coaches during All-Star week, as it detracts from the festivities, Bobby Marks of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • The Heat have assigned power forward Jarnell Stokes to their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be Stokes’ sixth trip to Sioux Falls on the season.

Greg Oden To Play In China

AUGUST 26TH, 8:18am: Oden has passed his tryout, so his deal is official, Sportando’s Enea Trapani writes. The club’s sponsor company referred to the signing as official earlier this week on Facebook.

AUGUST 12TH, 7:04pm: Former 2007 No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden has signed with the Jiangsu Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association, the team announced (translation by RealGM). The exact length and terms of the deal were not announced, though I would speculate that it is a one year pact. Oden was reportedly set to have a tryout with the club at the end of the month, so it’s unclear if this deal is contingent on that.

Oden last appeared in the NBA during the 2013/14 campaign when he played in 23 games for the Heat, averaging 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 9.2 minutes per contest. It was the first NBA action since 2009/10 for the oft-injured 7-footer. His career numbers through 105 games are 8.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 1.2 BPG to go along with a slash line of .574/.000/.648.

The 27-year-old center out of Ohio State reportedly drew eyes from the Mavericks, Hornets and Grizzlies earlier this summer. Oden sat out the 2014/15 campaign as he faced multiple charges related to domestic violence. He avoided jail time as part of a plea agreement in February in which he pleaded guilty to a felony battery charge and the three other charges against him were dismissed.

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