Greg Oden

And-Ones: Team USA, Referees, Most Improved Player, Oden

Ahead of this year’s World Cup, Team USA will play a pair of exhibition games in Abu Dhabi in August, writes ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The U.S. national team will face Germany on August 18 and Greece on August 20 in the World Cup tune-ups.

As Windhorst outlines, the exhibition games seem to be part of a concerted effort by the NBA to further establish itself in the Middle East. The Bucks and Hawks played a pair of preseason games in Abu Dhabi this past fall, and the league opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Abu Dhabi in 2022.

Additionally, foreign sovereign wealth funds are now permitted to become minority shareholders in NBA franchises by purchasing stakes of up to 20%. According to Windhorst, Mubadala (Abu Dhabi’s fund) has reportedly displayed interest in making that sort of investment in an NBA team.

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

  • After blasting the league’s officiating – and singling out referee Ben Taylor – Raptors guard Fred VanVleet received a relatively light fine, which will give players the “green light” to continue criticizing the game’s officials, Windhorst stated during a Get Up segment on Friday (YouTube video link). VanVleet could have been fined up to $50K, but was only docked $30K, which Windhorst notes is less than Ja Morant and Marcus Smart were penalized earlier in the season for “heat-of-the-moment” curses at referees during games.
  • Josh Robbins, Kelly Iko, and Eric Nehm of The Athletic debated the frontrunners for Most Improved Player and weren’t in total agreement on which player deserves the award at this point. Robbins and Iko like Knicks guard Jalen Brunson, while Nehm favors Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen. All three writers have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Thunder as their current runner-up.
  • Mirin Fader of The Ringer takes an in-depth look at former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden‘s efforts to continue finding joy working in basketball following his brief, injury-marred NBA career.
  • Bill Duffy‘s BDA Sports is being acquired by WME Sports, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who explores what the purchase means for the two agencies, Duffy, and BDA’s clients (a group that includes Luka Doncic).

BIG3 Aims To Hold Quarantined Tournament In April

The BIG3 is working on plans to launch a “quarantined, reality show-style” three-on-three tournament in April, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz – the league’s founders – have had discussions with TV networks about possibility broadcasting the preseason tournament, which they hope would help fill a void in the sporting world.

As Haynes explains, the idea would be to have approximately 16 to 22 players who test negative for COVID-19 be quarantined together in a large home in Los Angeles. A basketball facility would be built on site, and any player who breaks quarantine at any time during the tournament would be disqualified and removed.

The format would involve seven rounds of games, with teams being reshuffled throughout the tournament and players being eliminated when they accumulate three losses. In addition to the games, the players’ daily lives would also be filmed and broadcast “for added drama and storylines,” per Haynes.

“As long as we can protect the players, which we will do through proper testing and quarantine, Ice Cube and I feel we can give fans some safe, entertaining brand of basketball to get everyone through this pandemic,” Kwatinetz told Haynes.

Even if the BIG3 is able to move forward with its tournament as planned, it’s not yet known which players would participate, but Haynes says that former NBA players like Joe Johnson, Zach Randolph, and Greg Oden are among the possible candidates.

Greg Oden, Royce White, Others Selected In BIG3 Draft

The BIG3, Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league, completed its draft for the 2019 season on Wednesday night, and a number of noteworthy former NBA players were among the players selected.

Former NBA first overall pick Greg Oden wasn’t the first player picked in the BIG3 draft, but he did come off the board in the first round, going seventh overall to the Aliens, a team whose roster also includes Kendrick Perkins and Shannon Brown.

The No. 1 selection in the BIG3’s draft was former NBA first-rounder Royce White, whose NBA career was cut short after just three games due to battles with mental health and a fear of flying. White will join an Enemies squad led by captain Gilbert Arenas and co-captains Lamar Odom and Perry Jones III.

The following veterans who appeared in at least 100 games during their NBA careers were also selected in the 31-player draft on Wednesday:

  1. Larry Sanders (3 Headed Monsters)
  2. Josh Powell (Killer 3s)
  3. Shawne Williams (Bivouac)
  4. Jamario Moon (Ghost Ballers)
  5. Donte Greene (Killer 3s)
  6. Jason Richardson (Tri-State)
  7. Alan Anderson (Triplets)
  8. Sam Young (Trilogy)
  9. Brandon Rush (Aliens)
  10. Craig Smith (Enemies)
  11. Mario Chalmers (3 Headed Monsters)
  12. C.J. Watson (Killer 3s)
  13. Carlos Arroyo (Trilogy)
  14. Dion Glover (Bivouac)
  15. Bonzi Wells (Tri-State)

A full breakdown of the 2019 BIG3 draft results can be found right here, while the rosters for the 12 teams set to compete in the ’19 season are here.

Greg Oden Joins BIG3 Draft Pool

Former first overall pick Greg Oden is hoping to return to the court this summer — not in the NBA, but in Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league. The BIG3 announced today that Oden has joined the league’s draft pool for the coming season (Twitter link).

Oden, who turned 30 last month, was selected by Portland with the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft, one spot ahead of Kevin Durant. However, the Ohio State standout only appeared in 105 total NBA games, averaging 8.0 PPG and 6.2 RPG, last playing in the league for the Heat in 2013/14. His career was derailed by multiple knee and leg injuries.

After making an effort to revive his playing career in China during the 2015/16, the former Trail Blazers center said multiple times in the fall of 2016 that his playing career was over. “Don’t get me wrong,” Oden said at the time. “If I was healthy, I would love to continue playing, but I’m not healthy.”

A year and a half later, it appears Oden may not be ready to throw in the towel after all, as he makes an effort to participate in a three-on-three league that features former NBA players like Chauncey Billups, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal, Rashard Lewis, Kenyon Martin, and many more. For now, Oden isn’t on a BIG3 roster, but if he’s healthy this spring, he’ll be an intriguing candidate to be plucked out of the draft pool by one of the league’s clubs.

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 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“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 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.”