Camby signs with Rockets, but Heat never made offer; Oden decision Monday?

Cary Emondson-US PRESSWIRE

The Miami Heat ultimately passed on offering a contract to the veteran big man and Camby chooses to return to the Houston Rockets regardless.

The free agent market is well underway with just a few key free agents left but the Miami Heat continue to be cautious with their one and only chip, their taxpayer's "mini-mid level" exception.

Just last week the Miami Heat were considered one of the favorites to land the 39-year-old Camby while also courting free agent Greg Oden. Camby ultimately chose the Houston Rockets among several teams interested in his services, and returns to the new-look Rockets on a $1.7 million one-year veteran's minimum deal.

But perhaps the Heat's interest was overstated in the first place. The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson had this interesting tidbit deep into his weekly Florida Sports Buzz article.

After an initial call, the Heat opted not to make an offer to center Marcus Camby, who reportedly met with the Bulls and Rockets last week.

Jackson also has this update on the Greg Oden decision said to come very soon...

Meanwhile, Miami awaits a decision from Greg Oden, which his agent said could come as early as Monday. Though it wouldn't be surprising if Miami is outbid, his agent said he likes that the Heat could afford to bring him along slowly.

The Heat and their training staff have had success in the past with big men such as Ike Austin and Brian Grant, who played consistently for the Heat after battling various injuries in the years prior. But there's no question that this type of project is more of the Eddy Curry-type, as it obviously remains to be seen whether Oden's body can stand up to playing at an NBA-level on a consistent basis, if at all.

But there's a reason why several NBA teams are courting him...

So it's clear that the Heat have been focused on securing Oden as their one major free agency catch after nabbing Shane Battier two summers ago and then Ray Allen last year. With the Brooklyn Nets fortifying their squad and bench this summer and the Indiana Pacers recently acquiring the highly skilled Argentine Luis Scola to add to their bench, Pat Riley may have no choice but to roll the dice on the 25-year-old big man to add some more size.

But Oden has the ultimate say on the matter and with so many teams interested and possibly willing to overspend to outbid the Heat and keep Oden away from the defending champs, he may choose another destination. This could very well represent his last chance at the NBA and a basketball contract so the veteran's minimum likely won't be enough.

Heat fans and Riley may only have to wait one more day before Oden's decision or the end of the week, depending on which report ends up being correct but either way keep checking here on HHH for late breaking news, as always.

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