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Blazers to Oden: One more year

Team has right to match any better offer for oft-injured center
by: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT Greg Oden got a qualifying offer for one year, $8.8 million Wednesday from the Trail Blazers, giving him a starting point as a restricted free agent.

The Trail Blazers made their moves before the Thursday deadline. Now, in the case of center Greg Oden, they have to wait for other teams to decide if they will make a move, too.

The Blazers extended qualifying offers to Oden and guard Patty Mills on Wednesday, and the team picked up the third-year options on forward Luke Babbitt and guard Elliot Williams.

The Blazers made the prudent move, pledging $8.8 million for another year of Oden's services.

The oft-injured Oden, who will now become a restricted free agent, can solicit contract offers from around the NBA, but the Trail Blazers will have the right to match any offer sheet Oden signs, and seven days to make that match.

The free-agency period is likely to be put on hold because of the expected lockout of players while the league and players union negotiates a collective-bargaining agreement.

Oden, 23, has averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting 57.7 percent from the field in four NBA seasons, all with Portland.

Mills' qualifying offer is worth $1.1 million for next season.