The No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft, Oden has played just 82 games over four seasons because of injuries. The Blazers made the qualifying offer to protect themselves from possibly losing him for nothing, sources said. Once Oden becomes a restricted free agent, the Blazers will have the right to match any offer sheet he receives.
Oden missed last season after having microfracture surgery on his left knee in November. He hasn’t played since December of 2009 when he needed surgery to repair a fractured left patella. He was averaging 11.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks at the time of the injury.
Oden, 23, is working out in Los Angeles. There is no firm timetable for his return.
“Some people may think it’s best for me being out of [Portland], getting out of that mode of being injured or Sam Bowie talk,” Oden told Yahoo! Sports in late May. “Some people are probably saying, ‘You owe the Blazers for four years.’ I don’t know. For me, I just want to get out there and play.”
- restricted free agent