Lockout possibilities set aside for the moment, two of the more interesting NBA free-agency stories of 2011 will be Greg Oden and Yao Ming. Two former No. 1 draft picks, both still relatively young (Yao is 30, Oden is 23), both with the talent to be All-Star centers and even franchise centers. But neither can stay healthy. If you were running a team, how much would you be willing to spend on G.O. or Yao? How many years would you be willing to commit?
The Golden State Warriors have been asking themselves those questions. Listening to GM Larry Riley’s words, the team apparently would consider taking a chance on Oden or Yao if they can’t acquire a center by this week’s trade deadline.
“When you’re looking at what you can do to get better, you have to consider the possibility of what an injured player today might be able to do when he returns,” Riley told the San Francisco Chronicle. “A lot has been done down that road, and more will be done.”
Team executives can’t talk about players who are under contract with another team, so Riley can’t name Yao or Oden specifically.
“It’s not a secret. We have either got to get the players we have to play better in and around the basket, or we have to get somebody else,” Riley said. “That’s really where we are, so I might as well say it.”
Would you take a chance or Yao or Oden next summer?