I was watching SportsCenter the other night, and saw two major signings in the Western Conference. Phoenix resigned Grant Hill. Portland resigned Greg Oden. Let's look a little deeper, shall we?
Grant Hill has been a tough, resilient competitor since he came into the league in 1992. Yes, that means he's old as dirt by NBA standards. Ever since his first game in the NBA, he's been capable of playing at a very high level and has made every team he was on much better. He's starting to show his age and has "lost a step or two" in the speed department, but he's still just as good as he was before multiple surgeries to repair the damage basketball has done to his legs. Possibly even better than before because he plays smart, and despite not being as fast as he used to be, he's still capable of playing for the Suns who love to hit the fast break.
The contract signed? One year for $6.5 Million. Not bad for a guy's 19th season in the NBA, especially when both sides of this deal know retirement looms in the relatively near future.
Greg Oden has played a whopping 82 games in the four seasons since the Blazers took him in the draft ahead of one Kevin Durant. This was a MAJOR derp moment. Maybe some of us basketball fans remember the 1984 draft. The Blazers passed on a skinny guard from North Carolina for a center by the name of Sam Bowie. That guard? He was nobody special. Just Michael Jordan. Yeah, THE Michael Jordan. Kinda the same situation.
When Oden hit the floor last year (not literally), I freely admit the kid was a force. He was a beast in the low post, and drew enough attention off of LaMarcus Aldridge to free LA to play his former PF (Pussy forward) game. Then it happened (again). Oden hit the floor with knee problems. This time, he'd managed to rip his patella in half just by having strong legs. Drink milk homeboy. It does a body good, makes your bones stronger!
Oden's contract? One year for the qualifying offer of $8.9 Million. AND HOW DID HE REPAY THIS?! HE BLEW HIS KNEE AGAIN! Out for the season. He did restructure his contract since then for less money, to is credit, but holy shit man!
In the same year Oden signs for 8.9 million dollars and blows his knee for the fourth year straight, the squad's Golden Boy, Brandon "WTF would we do without him?!" Roy retires. Seems his knees are bugging him pretty badly. Brandon missed some time last year due to back spasms, but most of his time out was for a double knee surgery. Something that he came back from just in time to try to save the sinking Blazers ship in the first round of the playoffs. It was mostly Brandon Roy's contribution that made Portland the toughest team that the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks had to face in the playoffs, including a Miami Heat team stacked with celebrity and firepower that Dirk and the boys literally tore apart.
Why do I mention Brandon Roy? Other than the fact that he's been the face of the Blazers since coming out of Washington to take rookie of the year and a spot on the all-star team, he also had the good grace to bow out when he knee he couldn't get the job done. Greg Oden could learn from this. SHOULD learn from this. Four years in a row, he has just been a miscolored Shrek sitting on the bench in a suit, sucking up money the team HE'S SUPPOSED TO BE HELPING could have spent to get a suitable center. Or even a terrible center that could actually play. I'd rather have a blithering idiot that pets the referees and calls them kittens, hands the ball over to opposing point guards with a smile and thanks them, and craps his pants mid-game (tl;dr: A seven year old with mental issues) than a worthless waste of flesh that costs more than $1.50 per game.
I wish him well in his life, but in the NBA Greg Oden isn't worth the gatorade he's sipping on the sidelines.