The Oregonian reports
The Trail Blazers announced tonight that center Greg Oden will undergo his second microfracture surgery in three years.
Oden will undergo surgery Friday on his left knee, the one which suffered a fractured patella last Dec. 5 in a game against Houston at the Rose Garden. He will miss the remainder of the 2010-11 season. Since being drafted with the first pick of the 2007 NBA draft, Oden has missed 176 games due to injury and has played in 82 games.
The team said in a release tonight that a recent MRI showed damaged cartilage to the surface of his femur, and his current injury is unrelated to the fractured left patella. Oden previously underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee Sept. 13, 2007.
Ah no, that is depressing news. Poor Greg.
- The Oregonian has a second article with a video clip of the press conference + in bullet point form, a list of quotes and information about Greg Oden’s situation.
- Poll on what the Blazers should do next. The Blazers fans seem to want to move on from the Greg Oden era and are divided on whether Brandon Roy has a future with the team. Feel rebuilding process is quite likely.
Oden’s + Portland’s Future
The Blazers have invested too much time, money and effort in Greg Oden not to make the qualifying offer to him this summer. So, I do fully expect Greg to be a restricted free agent.
Given his recent injury history, it very difficult to imagine any team offering him more than the MLE for several years. The best Oden could do would be a Chris Wilcox type contract, like the one he signed for Seattle a few years ago when he got a three year $24 million ($8 million per annum) contract. Portland would almost definitely match that.
So the three most likely scenario’s are:
- Portland keeps him on the qualifying offer. Oden has 12 months to prove his quality and secure his long term future with the franchise.
- Teams offer a full five year MLE contract + Portland matches. Thus, Oden stays.
- Some team offers more on a medium term deal (say $24 mil, 3 years) and Portland matches. Oden stays.
So, Greg Oden will almost definitely be in Portland next season. I don’t see the Blazers matching a $60+ million contract but I don’t see anyone offering it either. If some gambler did though, then yeah, Portland would very likely let them go.
Portland’s Long Term Future
Well, they have two major injury risks:
- Greg Oden
- Brandon Roy
Without those two, Portland are back in full-blown rebuilding mode.
If Portland manages to keep one healthy but loses the other, then they are a playoff caliber team but not a contender. They will also have a tough time replacing the other due to limited assets / cap flexibility. If they do make a trade, it will almost surely decimate their depth. Then they’d have to rebuild their depth. So, years and years away from fielding a contender and no sure thing to do so.
If Portland gets lucky and manages to get both back on the court + healthy + highly productive, their beautiful future can still happen.
I have no idea on the likelihoods of any of the previous situations happening but those are the different routes. We’ll have to wait and see and find out more. Whether they can recover and compete, or not.
Portland’s Short Term Future
Too early to say without knowing Brandon Roy’s situation. The Blazers are still a playoff caliber team without Greg Oden but they are not a contender.
If they can get Przybilla back and keep Camby in the side, they could be a difficult team to face in the playoffs but they are very unlikely to win multiple series and get out of the West.
The Blazers still need to make a long term decision on Andre Miller and the point guard position. They shouldn’t put that off due to the injury to Oden and possible injury to Roy.
Balance Of Power (Western Conference)
The Lakers stranglehold on the West just tightened.
Portland are out of the mix and Houston are struggling.
OKC, San An and Dallas all as second tier contenders are the main hope in stopping LA from making a fourth consecutive Finals appearance.
The Lakers chances of making the Finals are very strong.