Frank Hughes: The Oden Dilemma

The feature story today in the NBA section at Sports Illustrated is by Frank Hughes, who delves into next season’s situation with Greg Oden’s contract extension. Hughes apparently caught up with Kevin Pritchard at Madison Square Garden, so there are quotes you probably won’t get anywhere else, though most of it you’ve heard or read before. There’s also your typical national usage of the Sam Bowie crutch, but that’s expected. Otherwise, it’s a very fair piece and worth a read.

“Not that you want to have anybody suffer any knee injury,” Pritchard said Monday while attending the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. “But this is the best kind of knee injury to suffer.”

Even if they remain confident Oden can one day be a productive player, shouldn’t they at least shift their expectations for him? Zydrunas Ilgauskas was never the same after he went through years of foot injuries, but he was still a solid contributor for Cleveland for many years.

Pritchard says no. He wants what he wanted when he drafted him.

Don’t we all. And:

Oden is eligible to receive his first extension, just as Oklahoma City can give Durant an extension for somewhere around five years and $80 million. Oden’s production does not merit a sizable extension, if one at all. But from a business perspective, this will be the best time for him to maximize his earnings potential because a new collective bargaining agreement in 2011 surely won’t be as beneficial to him.

We wrote about this two weeks ago here. Oden is only going to build value with a healthy run next year, so, as Hughes also mentions, it makes the most sense to extend him while the price is right — I’m guessing somewhere between the 5-year, $50 million dollar deal Andrea Bargnani and LaMarcus Aldridge’s 5-year, $65 million deal. And for those of you saying that Oden shouldn’t be extended at all, the Blazers don’t have much of a choice. This is their investment, and they are going to sink or swim by it. A long contract is an obvious risk, but a necessary one.

Tags: Blazers Contract Extension Frank Hughes Greg Oden Kevin Pritchard Nate McMillan Portland Sports Illustrated

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