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ASK IRA: What’s Heat fascination with Varnado, Birdman, Oden?
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Q: Ira, with Jarvis Varnado back and Birdman not going anywhere, why the sudden interest in Greg Oden? How many rebounds is he going to get while sitting in the stands at the Ohio State game? – George.
A: About as many as Dexter Pittman will secure seated at the end of the Heat bench. The reality is that the Heat have flexibility should Oden decide to sign with a team this season, even if he does not plan to play until next season.
Remember, the Heat started their evaluation process with Eddy Curry nine months before they signed him. This is what teams do, kick as many tires, especially big tires, as possible.
What I can tell you is I have been watching Varnado during the Heat’s three-on-three workouts and he has more of an offensive skill set than I previously thought. The interest in Chris Andersen also appears sincere.
The wildcard in all of this is Pittman, who simply doesn’t seem like he has a long-term future here. Then again, the same might be said about Varnado and Andersen, with their minimal, short-term deals.
There is no downside to getting a look at Oden’s knee, as well as a sense of where his head is at in the wake of so much adversity. Ultimately, playing closer to home in Cleveland, where there also might be more opportunity, might make the most sense.
By Ira Winderman