The Boston Celtics met with free-agent center Greg Oden on Saturday, according to president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
The meeting comes as injury-riddled Oden intensifies his search for a team with the goal of returning to the NBA next season. Whispers spread this morning that Oden had been spotted at the team's practice facility and Ainge confirmed the exploratory meeting.
The Celtics were not previously believed to be a strong candidate for Oden's services, but Saturday's meeting suggests otherwise.
Ainge admitted last month that the Celtics were monitoring Oden's statusand keeping in touch with his representatives. Friday's meeting was exploratory and all indications are nothing is imminent. The question is whether the Celtics, beset by injuries over the past week in losing Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger for the season, can afford to sacrifice another roster spot for a player that won't be ready until next season. That would ultimately depend on (1) Oden's interest in signing before the end of the 2011-12 season and (2) What direction Boston ultimately elects to take this season and whether it needs that spot to add another serviceable body for a playoff push. Of course, the mere potential in Oden, even amid his injury woes, is an enticing option for any team.