Free agent Greg Oden is expected this week to sign with an NBA team. The injury-plagued center narrowed his list down to six teams, with the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs sitting at the top, ESPN reports.
Any team which signs Oden is taking a gamble. Yet the gamble packs enough upside that six teams are vying for his services - the New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio and Miami all are contending for him.
Oden is expected to choose a team this week, according to ESPN sources. He has said fit and comfort level, not money, will be the deciding factor for where he signs.
He's long been rumored to favor the Spurs and Heat, which was the first team to bring him in to visit. Both teams offer him the promise of a championship, and they both have a style of play Oden reportedly believes is conducive to his skill set.
Although only 25, Oden has a history of injuries. His durability is uncertain, given he has only played in only 82 games since going No. 1 to the Portland Trail Blazers in 2007. Oden had his third microfracture knee surgery in February 2012, and he sat out the 2012-13 season to focus on getting healthy. He believes he's healthy enough now to return.
Despite not playing in an NBA game since December 2009, his workouts earlier this month have made teams excited.
"Whenever you see somebody that big move well you can't help but get excited about what he could be," an unnamed team official told ESPN.
"He needs to get in better shape but that will come," an unidentified coach said, via ESPN. "He does look pretty good."
If he can stay healthy, Oden is a huge boon for any team. In his brief career, the 7-footer averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.