Disclaimer: I want to preface this by saying that I am pretty sure Oden is done, despite his will to want to play. But for the sake of this argument, let's say he goes somewhere with a great medical staff and somehow gets healthy... I also have no interest in any player that commands more than a Vet Min on a 1 year deal at this point, other than the possibility of Mayo [although I am against paying Mayo over $30M]. Next year you have Iggy, Monte Ellis, Ginobili, Josh Smith, Paul Milsapp, and possibly Howard and Bynum. Realistically Iggy, Ellis, Smith and Milsapp can be had. We have to decide whether any of those four are better at what they will cost than Mayo this year at what he will cost...
Mike Conley Sr. has been talking up Oden lately, saying that Greg has the "ants in the pants" syndrome and wants to try an come back for this season. This brings up a scenario where many teams may throw the dice and give Oden a 1 year "prove you are healthy" deal.
Should the Suns?
Obviously paying a player to dress out, look good on the sideline and essentially get paid to do nothing is not what teams really look for [unless your team name rhymes with buns]. I mean, how stupid would you have to be to sign a guy and pay him $4.64 million to not play. Well, at least they aren't paying him $6.5.
Regardless, the downside to signing Oden for any team would be that he simply is not ready to even TRY a comeback, let alone succeed. This is one of the most injured players since, well, Sam Bowie. He makes Brandon Roy look like a picture of health. Penny Hardaway has a better shot at recovery than this guy [there seems to be a theme with the Buns - didn't we sign him after crippling injuries ravaged his ability to play?]
The are several potential problems with an Oden signing. First, i am sure there are multiple teams out there that are willing to take the risk. If Roy is getting looks from multiple teams, Oden surely will too. Thus, the possibility of getting him on a one year veteran minimum is unlikely. If you have to pay him the bi-annual or mid-level, even for a year, you are making a large commitment of salary on a high risk high reward proposition.
Then the issue becomes on of taking up space. Not just your cap space, but a roster spot. Could you make that same investment in someone else with a higher likelihood of reward [not higher reward, just better chance of actually getting value]?
Obviously, if Oden can get healthy and stay that way, and actually reach even HALF of his potential, you score a home run. Even at a quarter of his potential, he becomes a serviceable big guy at a relatively cheap price. Face it, Gortat is WAY underpaid for his production. If he were a FA right now, he would get $10-12M easily, if not more [don't know what his max is, don't have time to look it up].
If, and I say IF, you could sign Oden to a 1 year deal under $3M, would you do it? Considering we paid the likes of Sean Marks, Paul Shirley, Garrett Siler, etc., and that we are going to have to fill out our roster with a 13th guy anyway, signing Oden might be a good idea.
Consider also the medical staff and our track record with injured guys.
The fact is, all teams have to fill out their roster and every year there are 30-60 guys that are collecting paychecks and never see the floor. Wouldn't it be worth the risk of making Oden one of those guys?