Throughout the NBA playoffs we've been highlighting 2013 free agents playing in the postseason while projecting a possible fit with the Wizards (links to all previous profiles are below). Since we're starting to run out of options, it's time to ponder the entire class of players soon to be seeking a new contract.
Washington currently does not have significant salary cap space for any big-ticket items, but six players on the current roster will hit the open market this summer including Martell Webster, A.J. Price, Garrett Temple and Cartier Martin. Others still on the roster are potential trade candidates. Obviously re-signing some or all of the aforementioned free agents is an option, but those pieces won't solve all their needs. The Wizards have three draft picks, including a first round selection. However, whatever positives rookies might bring will not include NBA experience. That's why we want to know these free agents a little better...
Free agent: Greg Oden, C, Portland Trailblazers
Vitals: 7-foot-0, 250 lbs. Turned 25 in January
Stats: The numbers most pertinent to the No. 1 overall pick from the 2007 NBA Draft involve items like surgeries and missed games rather than points and rebounds. Oden has not taken the court for an NBA game since December 2009 when he averaged 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 21 games for the Portland Trailblazers before requiring microfracture surgery on his left knee. That was certainly not the first nor the most recent time Oden underwent surgery. In February 2012 he had a second microfracture on his left knee and arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, which also endured microfracture surgery back in 2007. The Indianapolis native has played a total of 82 NBA games.
The fit: Emeka Okafor provided the Wizards with a veteran and interior defensive-minded presence, but the 6-foot-10 center is entering the final of his contract and turns 31 in September. While Kevin Seraphin is a scoring threat inside, the Wizards do not have a true replacement should this be Okafor's last season in Washington. Unless Kentucky center Nerlens Noel falls to them with the third overall pick, the Wizards are not likely to land such an option in the first round. The strength of Oden's game at Ohio State and in the NBA was that of a rim protector while knocking down 58 percent of his field goal attempts during his two seasons with the Trailblazers.
Chances of becoming a Wizard: The mention of Oden takes place because during the combine, Ohio State forward Deshaun Thomas said of the former Buckeye to The Oregonian, "Man, he looks unbelievable. He's running, he's lifting weights. You might be seeing a comeback. He looks like he is ready to go. He's running, getting in shape. I'll tell you one thing: For a big 7-footer, that's all he does -- running and getting in shape. He's looking right." Perhaps, but obviously any talk of a comeback must be tempered because of the lengthy and sad medical report. After being released by Portland in March of 2012, Oden chose to sit out the current season with the hopes of a making a return for the 2013-14 campaign. The Wizards have several open roster spots. If the doctor's somehow give a thumbs up to a player with three microfracture surgeries, Washington could easily use one of the back bencher slots on a flyer, offering a minimum/ or non-guaranteed contract. For the sake of Oden plus hopefully providing a positive chapter or two to a bummer of an NBA career, it would be great if he's indeed healthy enough for some team to take a chance.
NBA Free Agent profiles