The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly planning to offer center Greg Oden a two-year deal with a team option for a third year sometime after the NBA trade deadline of Feb. 21.
There is some symmetry, we suppose, to offering a three-year contract to a player that has had three microfracture knee surgeries. Three years is also how long it has been since Oden played in an NBA game - Dec. 5, 2009, to be exact.
Meaning if the Cavs are truly planning to offer him a contract, it's one of the worst ideas we've heard from one of the local teams in a long time, and that is saying a lot.
Simply put, there is little to no chance that Oden is coming back and, even if he somehow does one day walk onto the Quicken Loans Arena court, there is even less chance that he will be a viable NBA player.
We're sure there are Cavs fans that are already starting to justify the team's interest in Oden because there's "no downside" to signing him. In one respect, they are right - after all, it is only Dan Gilbert's money.
But we can't shake the feeling that too many Cavs fans want Oden simply because he played at Ohio State, which is without question the worst reason for any Cleveland team to select a player.
We did a Google search looking for players who have come back from three microfracture surgeries on their knees to play in the NBA and found out that the number is zero.
While we couldn't find any players, we did find this story from 2010 in The Oregonian that referenced a study at Drexel University that found that "about one in five pro basketball players who undergo microfracture knee surgery never play another NBA game. And those who come back tend to perform at a significantly lower level than before surgery."
The study looked at 24 NBA players who had the surgery form 1997 to 2006. Five of those players never made it back and, of the one did, 17 of them were still active after two years, but "their performance lagged significantly behind a control group of similar players who were never injured."
And those are just players who had one surgery, Oden has had three microfracture surgeries on his knees.
We also found this Oregonian story, from a year ago when Oden underwent his most recent surgery, talking about how Oden first injured his knee while getting up from a chair.
Think about that for a moment - Oden's knees are so bad (and that was before he had three microfracture surgeries) - that he hurt himself just by standing up.
This isn't Zydrunas Ilgauskas or Yao Ming coming back from foot injuries. This is a 25-year-old who has the knees of a 120-year-old.
What are the Cavs thinking? Are we speaking Chinese over here?
"(Greg's) going to make an impact on whatever team he’s on - a big impact," Mike Conley Sr., Oden's agent, told The Beacon Journal. "He’s already back in my eyes. As long as he stays healthy, he’ll get better and better. He hasn’t had a chance to improve his game of basketball because of all this. The upside on him is tremendous. He’s a young kid. He just turned 25. He’s in the prime of his life.”
Look, we feel bad for Oden. If he had never been injured he probably would have had a very solid career (he played 82 total games for the Blazers in five years, averaging 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds.) But people are looking for miracles and a feel-good story here.
And this is Cleveland, where we don't do feel-good stories.
No matter how much Cavs fans want to believe otherwise.
(Photo by The Oregonian)
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