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Free-agent Greg Oden meets with Celtics

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff  February 2, 2013 04:16 PM

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The Celtics are hoping to move up the list of teams that interests former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden after the two parties met Saturday afternoon in Boston.

Oden, a former prodigy who was supposed to change the Portland Trail Blazers franchise, has had microfracture surgeries on both knees and decided to take this season off to get those knees healthy as he attempts another return.

Oden has played a total of 82 games since entering the NBA in 2007 and has not been completely healthy since missing his entire rookie season with his first microfracture surgery. He last played on Dec. 5, 2009 with Portland, sustaining another serious knee injury that cost him two seasons.

The Blazers cut ties with Oden in March 2012 and he has been rehabilitating for the past season, targeting a 2013-14 return.

The Celtics have an interesting tie to Oden. They finished the 2006-07 season with the league's worst record and were planning to take Oden if they received the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft Lottery. Boston received the fifth pick and drafted Jeff Green to include in a deal with the Seattle SuperSonics for Ray Allen.

If the Celtics had received the top two picks, they would have likely stuck with their rebuilding plan and taken Oden or Kevin Durant, and the Big Three Era may have never occurred. While some member of the Celtics' organization said they would have taken Durant, now one of the league's top superstars, with the top pick, coach Doc Rivers maintains they would selected Oden, then a franchise-caliber center drawing comparisons to David Robinson.

Oden has played well during his brief stints on the court but now may be relegated to a part-time player because of his health. He has undergone three microfracture surgeries and another surgery for a fractured left knee cap.

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