Heat | Greg Oden

Greg Oden on opportunity with Miami Heat: ‘I have a lot of work to do’


Center Greg Oden is excited that the Heat is giving him a chance to get his career on track, but he admitted he is ‘still a work in progress.’


The last time Greg Oden played significant minutes in an NBA game, he dominated — coincidentally enough — the Heat, collecting 13 points, 20 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and a steal in 30 minutes.

That was Dec. 1, 2009. Oden played four minutes in a game five nights later — his last NBA appearance until he makes his expected Heat debut this season.

If Oden, in meaningful games next season, can deliver even half of what he contributed against Miami that night in Portland, Ore., the Heat would be thrilled.

But Oden still needs more time to get healthy, and that’s fine with the Heat, which has no plans to rush him after Miami agreed Friday night to a two-year deal with the 7-foot center.

“I’m not going to sit here and say I’m 100 percent,” Oden, who has had five knee operations, told ESPN late Friday. “I am moving [well] and I am feeling good, but I have a lot of work to do. I could be ready to go [for the Oct.29 opener] but it’s still a work in progress. My minutes and amount of playing time [are] going to have to be monitored.”

Oden said he felt comfortable when he spoke to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra at an Indianapolis Chili’s following his workout last week.

“When I had a conversation with Coach Spoelstra and hearing how much he knew about the training stuff that I was already doing, it kind of made me feel like they know what’s best for me,” he said. “For them to come after me with all the stuff I’ve been going through — for them to think I can still be an important piece of their team — I’m really excited about that. The scrutiny … that’s going to be there with any team I signed with.”

In a Grantland.com interview with his former Ohio State teammate, Mark Titus, Oden added: “Obviously, the chance to play with the best player in the world and compete for a championship was a big selling point. But more than that, what I really liked was how they thought I could really add something to their team. They’ve won back-to-back championships without me, so for them to pursue me as hard as they did meant a lot, especially given all that I’ve gone through.”

He cracked that “the cool thing about playing for the Heat is when you’re LeBron’s teammate and you screw up, nobody gets mad at you for missing a shot or turning the ball over. They get mad at LeBron for passing to you in the first place.”

Oden reportedly has battled depression and alcoholism in recent years. “The past six years have been tough for me,” he told Grantland. “But there’s nothing I can do about it now. All I’m focused on is right now. And right now I feel great. … I want to be able to finish the season healthy.

“… There’s a lot to be excited about in joining the NBA champions, getting to play with some great players, and living in Miami. But honestly, the thing I’m most excited about is just being able to play basketball again. It’s been a long and challenging road back, so just having the chance to play the game I love again has me more excited than anything else.”

Read more Miami Heat stories from the Miami Herald

FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2014, file photo, then-Cleveland Cavaliers forward Luol Deng looks on against the Denver Nuggets in the fourth quarter of the Cavaliers' 117-109 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver. Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has been disciplined by CEO Steve Koonin for making racially charged comments about Luol Deng when the team pursued the free agent this year. Ferry apologized Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, for “repeating comments that were gathered from numerous sources” about Deng.

    Miami Heat

    More comments besmirching new Miami Heat forward Luol Deng

    Days after it was revealed that Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry made racially charged comments about new Heat forward Luol Deng before Deng became a free agent this summer, additional comments made by Ferry about Deng came to light Thursday.

FILE - In this Dec. 22, 2011, file photo, Atlanta Hawks co-owners Michael Gearon Jr., left, and Bruce Levenson talk prior to the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game at Philips Arena in Atlanta. Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has been disciplined by CEO Steve Koonin for making racially charged comments about Luol Deng when the team pursued the free agent this year. The team did not provide any details of the discipline.

    Hawks discipline GM Ferry for racist comments

    The Atlanta Hawks are sticking with general manager Danny Ferry even though the team's new majority owner wants him fired for racially charged comments about Luol Deng.

Shaquille O'Neal stopped by Doral City Hall Wednesday to say hello to the city council before sitting down with the police department. O’neal applied to be a reserve officer and is undergoing a background check.


    Shaq wants to attack crime in Doral

    Former Miami Heat star Shaquille O’Neal applied to be a reserve police officer for the city of Doral on Wednesday.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category