The Miami Heat are now considered to be finalists for the services of big men Greg Oden and Marcus Camby, though it currently is not known if the team is interested in adding both players or just one.
Adding both Camby and Oden appears to be unlikely, considering the Heat already have Chris Bosh, Joel Anthony, Chris Andersen and Jarvis Varnado in the mix. The Heat could cut Varnado, who played during Summer League tournaments in Orlando and Las Vegas, before Opening Day to avoid guaranteeing his contract. They could have also made Anthony their amnesty cut but with that option now gone after jettisoning Mike Miller the Heat could still find a trade partner for the defensive specialist (and offensive non-specialist).
Just one year after pursuing Camby during the offseason, the Heat are once again in position to land the 2007 Defensive Player of the Year and longtime New York Knicks big man.
Many Heat fans would consider Camby to be too old at this stage in his career to be truly effective playing alongside the Big 3, though he would have to be considered an upgrade if he were to simply replace Juwan Howard's roster spot (and seat on the bench). Last season was a disappointment for Camby in his Knicks reunion, limited to playing just 26 regular season games and 3 playoff games primarily because of coach Mike Woodson's preference to play small ball as well as playing behind Rasheed Wallace during the first half of the season.
Meanwhile, Greg Oden may not be as close to deciding on his second NBA team since leaving the Portland Trailblazers after several frustrating and injury-filled years since being the 2007 #1 overall draft pick but signs are pointing to an eventual decision. Representatives from the Heat, New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings have been invited to attend an Oden workout that will take place this week, according to ESPN.com.
Sources say that the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks -- which had face-to-face meetings with Oden last week -- also remain in contention for the 7-footer's services. But the Heat and Spurs established themselves as the front-runners to land Oden last month and, according to one source close to the process, remain the co-favorites to sign him.
The 25-year-old Oden has been monitored by Pat Riley and the Heat for the past year as a player who could rehabilitate properly under their care and, while he may never live up to his early promise, could become a serviceable big man that could contribute off the bench for 15-20 minutes of action.
Oden has career averages of 9.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg and 1.4 bpg in just 82 career games between 2008 and 2010. Camby, 39, has 17 years of experience averaging 9.5 ppg, 9.8 rpg, and 2.4 bpg in 973 regular season games.
The Heat would prefer to sign either at the veteran's minimum but they also have a $3.183 taxpayer's mid-level exception at their disposal.
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