OKC ThunderDome

Beyond…Waaaay Beyond…

11/18 Daily Links

What the pros are saying:

What I’m saying:

The idea of an Oden signing is an interesting one and definitely worth considering.  Here is the problem though – there will be a number of teams that will be thinking the exact same thing, and the collective interest will accomplish something that probably benefits nobody: it will drive up Oden’s value in the free agency market. With an uncertain future, Oden’s potential player value will by far outweigh his actual value, and the contract will reflect the potential rather than reality.

It is easy to understand why this inflation would negatively impact teams that are interested in him, but why is this bad for Oden?  I would counter that it is because Oden is who he is. Oden is not the stereotypical self-involved pro athlete.  He has given us plenty of glimpses that he actually cares about his reputation and how others see him.  He is self-reflective.  He gets down on himself when he isn’t producing.  He wants to be seen as having earned his money.  If he were to receive a new contract that by far outweighs his immediate impact on the team and he then suffers another setback or cannot play at a high level, it will erode his confidence even further.  It would make him worse off, not better.

Oden is only 22 years old, with very few miles on his treads.  I think the best thing for him to do is to just go away for a few years, kind of like Grant Hill did after he signed a huge contract with Orlando.  Hill suffered several debilitating injuries and many thought that he’d never play again.  It wasn’t until Hill removed himself completely from the game that he was able to heal up and also reinvent himself so that he could be a contributor once more.  Oden needs to stop rehabbing so aggressively and let his body become whole again. Perhaps in three to four years he can re-emerge as a player that is capable of getting up and down the court without future risk to his body.  Remember, he’d only be 25 or 26, barely entering his physical prime.

Oden is one of those guys who I’ve always thought had a greater reach than just the game of basketball (to say nothing of his amateur photography ;-).  I thought/think that basketball will not even be the best thing he accompishes in his life.  Basketball is still in his future; let’s hope he keeps a good perspective on where he is and where he can still go.

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