USA TODAY Sports
The Cavaliers have been flirting with Greg Oden for a while now. The flirtation was taken to the next level on Friday night when Oden attended the Cavs-Grizzlies game in Cleveland.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have not kept their interest in Greg Oden a secret. There were rumors that the team was preparing to offer a multiyear deal to the oft-injured big man out of Ohio State. But it seems as though Oden is willing to take his time and wait to sign when he is totally ready.
The speculation was heightened once again on Friday night when Greg Oden was found in Quicken Loans Arena for the game between the Cavs and Grizzlies. Oden got the tickets from his good friend, Mike Conley. It also just so happens that Mike Conley's father is Oden's agent. Although Oden got the tickets from Memphis' Conley, he ended up right next to the Cavaliers' bench mid-way through the game.
Jason Lloyd from the Akron Beacon Journal wrote about Oden and the situation with the Cavaliers at Ohio.com:
"I live in Ohio. It’s home now," he said. "They have a great organization and I really do think they’re up and coming."
Oden was spotted cheering for the Cavs during a fourth-quarter comeback.
Even Mike Conley said that the Cavaliers would be a good situation for Oden to make his comeback.
"He loves Cleveland, loves the state of Ohio. He lives in Columbus and he’d like to be as close to home as possible, so what better place than Cleveland? I think that’d be a great spot for him. Hopefully something will work out."
It looks like Oden won't sign with a team until the summer, but I have to think that the Cavaliers' willingness to spend and proximity to his home give Cleveland an edge. If Oden is healthy and mentally ready to contribute, I think it's a very low risk-high reward move. Might as well take a chance on an enormous big man with basketball skills. Even if he's just a 15-20 minute defensive backup next season, that's probably would a couple million bucks.
Obviously nothing is set in stone, but Friday night just added some fuel to the fire. And judging by the crowd's reaction when Oden was shown on the jumbotron, I think most basketball fans in Northeast Ohio would be happy to welcome him back.