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Thursday update: The skinny on Greg Oden rumors

### Greg Oden's agent was puzzled by an ESPN.com report this afternoon that the Heat "is at the top of the line pursuing Oden," the former No. 1 overall draft pick who has had five knee operations.

Oden's agent, Mike Conley Jr., told us today, this past Monday and several times in the past year that the Heat has never expressed any interest in Oden.

"They have never made a single call about him," Conley said. "It's strange this story [comes out] because I spoke to them this week about DeQuan Cook before he signed with Chicago. They never asked about Greg."

Conley reiterated that Oden would have interest in the Heat, but he isn't comfortable pushing Oden on Miami or any other team if that team doesn't express interest.

"There are several teams he likes, Miami included," Conley said. "We would like to see the enthusiasm reciprocated."

Conley said several teams have expressed interest in Oden, who is preparing to return to the league to start the 2013-14 season.

The 7-foot Oden, only 24, has played in only 82 NBA games, none since the 2009-10 season.  He has career averages of 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. 

At the very least, the Heat would be smart to work out Oden in the coming weeks, to determine whether it wants to make an offer. But the Heat hasn't even taken that step.

 ### We reported a couple days ago about Mario Cristobal considering a return to UM's coaching staff. Cristobal was on UM's campus Thursday is is re-joining the staff, as associate head coach and tight ends coach.

Brennan Carroll is expected to move to wide receivers coach. Cristobal, fired by FIU last month, previously was an assistant coach and player at UM. He has a background coaching the offensive line, but Al Golden was committed to keeping Art Kehoe.

### The Heat agreed to terms with two centers Wednesday, and neither was Chris Birdman Andersen.

Not only did the Heat sign Jarvis Varnado to a 10-day contract, but Miami also agreed to terms with Josh Harrellson on a 10-day contact, according to his agent, Merle Scott.

The Heat announced the Varnado signing on Wednesday and plans to announce the Harrellson signing on Thursday. 

Harrellson will join the team in Portland for Thursday's game, Scott said. 

Harrellson made the Heat's roster in training camp but appeared in only four games and played just 27 minutes. The Heat released him on Monday to avoid having to guarantee his contract for the remainder of the season.

Varnado and Harrellson can sign two 10-day contracts before the Heat must decide whether to re-sign either for the remainder of the season.

The two signings will bring the Heat’s roster to the maximum 15. That would not leave space for Andersen unless the Heat creates another roster spot. Andersen worked out for the Heat on Tuesday and remained in Miami on Wednesday.

Andersen is still working to get into optimal shape after not playing in the NBA this season. It remains to be seen whether the Heat re-visits the idea of signing Andersen after he improves his conditioning.

The Heat will have 14 players on this road trip - not the 15 under contract - because center Dexter Pittman continues to hone his skills with the NBA Development League's Sioux Falls team in South Dakota. He had 16 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in a game on Wednesday.

### Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison, coming off September knee surgery, told MLB.com that he won't be ready for the start of spring training and might not be ready for the start of the regular season.

Morrison underwent surgery to repair the patellar tendon in his right knee, his second operation on the knee in a span of eight months.

"I'm going to wait until it's 100 percent and ready to go," he told MLB.com. He expects to begin running a week into spring training.

Morrison, who is moving to first base, hit .230 with 11 homers and 36 RBI in 93 games last season.

If Morrison isn't ready to start the season on time, Greg Dobbs and former Orioles prospect Joe Mahoney likely would handle first base duties.

### If you haven't seen the buzz column posted late Tuesday night with UM and Dolphins news, please click on the last post.

 

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