According to multiple reports, the Celtics met with Greg Oden in Boston on Saturday as part of an informational exchange with the free agent center. However, with Oden having stated that he is targeting a return to the NBA in 2013-14, the meeting was described as an opportunity for the two sides to talk without any expectation of a deal being imminent.
"We wanted to talk to Greg to see where he is physically," Ainge said.
The 7-footer was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2007, but he played just 82 games for Portland after sitting out his rookie year with the first of multiple knee injuries. He last played on December 5th of 2009.
The fact Oden is still drawing strong interest from teams despite his medical history is a testament to his talent. He had five double-doubles — including a 13-point, 20-rebound night — in the 21 games he played before being injured in his last year.
"We're just finding out as much as we can and letting Greg know what we have here," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Boston Herald . "He's not ready to play now, but he's someone who's very interesting."
Oden — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers — has played just 82 NBA games, averaging 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game while averaging 22 minutes per contest. He has not played in a game since Dec. 5, 2009, when he suffered a fractured patella in his left knee, one of several injuries that has required surgery on both knees.
Still, he has the size of a pure center and was once talented enough to be the No. 1 overall pick, ahead of Kevin Durant (among others) in his draft. That being the case, his potential availability for next season has generated considerable interest across the league, including from the Celtics. However, multiple reports said that the Celtics have not made an offer to the former Ohio State standout, who is spending this year taking classes there while rehabbing.