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Former first-overall draft pick Greg Oden wants to make a comeback in 2013, and the Miami Heat could be the team that brings him back to the NBA.
Oden's agent told The Miami Herald Tuesday that Heat president Pat Riley is "very interested" in Oden, and his agent expects Oden will meet with Riley in Miami in the next few weeks. Earlier in January, ESPN reported that the Heat were "at the front of the line" of teams pursuing Oden.
"It will involve talking to Pat and the medical staff to see where Greg is," agent Mike Conley told the Herald. Oden will not participate in any on-court work, but may undergo medical tests while in Miami.
"Greg can run, shoot, dunk, but we're not allowing him to do certain things," Conley added. "He's taking it slower than in the past. The biggest challenge is not doing too much too soon. In past rehabs, it was a little sore. Now he feels he can do anything. We're telling him not to [do too much]."
But Oden is not looking to play this season. "The goal is to start next season," Conley told the Herald.
Oden has not played since December 2009 due to a number of injuries. He was cut by Portland last March, having appeared in just 82 games during his five-year stint with the Trail Blazers.
Oden would be a low-risk signing for the Heat, who already pay a luxury tax for its large payroll and would likely only offer Oden the veteran minimum salary. Riley made a somewhat similar move when he signed center Eddy Curry last season, over a year after Curry's then-most recent appearance in an NBA game.
Oden has averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks a game for his career. In his one season at Ohio State University, he averaged 15.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.
The Heat is not the only team pursuing Oden, though. A person with knowledge of Cleveland's interest told the Associated Press the team is exploring the possibility of signing Oden.
Also on Tuesday, Yahoo! Sports reported the Heat will sign Chris Andersen to another 10-day contract on Wednesday and sign center Jarvis Varnado for the remainder of the season. Andersen has played 4 minutes since joining the Heat earlier this month (and has 2 points and 2 rebounds), while Varnado has played 12 minutes this season.