Greg Ostertag Rumors

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Greg Ostertag
Greg Ostertag
Position: None
Born: 03/06/73
Height: 7-2 / 2.18
Weight:280 lbs. / 127 kg.
Shortly after retiring from the Utah Jazz in 2006, the 7-foot-2, 280-pound center returned to his childhood roots by playing adult recreational hockey. He skates in a beginner-level league on Wednesdays and an intermediate-level league on Thursdays at the Ice Den in Scottsdale, Ariz. “One day, I just decided to go find something to do besides playing golf every day,” says the 41-year-old Ostertag. “I was lucky to have a guy in Utah send me a pair of skates. Then I went to a rink, started skating around, and, once I got my feet under me again, I got into a league. I’ve been doing it ever since. “I don’t do it to stay in shape. I do it because it’s fun. I love playing hockey, and I love being around the guys. I’d do it five days a week if I could and if I had time.”
“I regret quitting when I did,” Ostertag said. “At that time, it wasn’t so much playing. I was tired of everything that goes along with it, like the travel, not being able to fall asleep before 4 or 5 in the morning. I was tired of all that, but I should have kept going for a couple more years. “I hope people understand that this was not a publicity stunt. I genuinely wanted to play basketball. The first couple weeks, I thought I was playing decent, but I just wasn’t in shape. I was starting to get in shape — as far as conditioning I felt as good as I’ve felt (Wednesday night against Tulsa) — but I just can’t move the way I need to. These guys are young and fast. Some of them were just getting out of diapers when I came into the league.” Ostertag said he made the decision in the early hours of Thursday morning after going to a movie following the Tulsa game. “My mind was going a million miles an hour,” Ostertag said. “I just realized it was time to hang ’em up for good.”
Ostertag had his best game for the Frisco-based Legends last week at the D-League Showcase in Reno in front of scouts from numerous NBA teams, but the 38-year-old told on Thursday that the pain in his knees since then had become unbearable. “They’ve been bugging me since I came back (in late December), but I could barely move (after Reno),” Ostertag said. “I felt good there and I played good. I get out there and sometimes I do get loose, but usually the ‘don’ts’ are longer than the ‘dos.’ It sucks, but I knew going into this what could happen.”
He showed Tuesday that his conditioning is improving, though, while admitting it’s still a process. “I’m getting there, man. I’ve only had two weeks of being back in basketball,” Ostertag said. “These teams know what I’m capable of doing, it’s just a matter of being in shape enough to get out there and do what I’m capable of doing to get out on the floor and be productive.” Productivity is relative, of course, but Ostertag believes his knowledge and ability to fill the role he filled during his entire NBA career will benefit him when NBA teams begin looking at back-up big men over the coming weeks. “I’ll be ready for whatever. I just want to play. Teams know what I can bring to the table – putbacks, clogging the paint, rebounding and that’s it,” Ostertag said. “It’s more just a matter of getting into shape enough to go out and play 10 minutes or 20 minutes or whatever an NBA team wants me to play.”
The 7-foot-2 center played less than 11 minutes in Tuesday’s 94-86 victory over the Tulsa 66ers on Tuesday afternoon in front of a bevy of NBA scouts at Reno’s D-League Showcase, but he made them count with eight points and three rebounds while serving as a solid back-up center to Dallas Mavericks’ assisgnee Sean Williams. The Texas native knows that’s exactly what he needed to do in order to work further toward his goal — a goal that was just re-hatched last month. “I’d been out for five years and I missed it. The first year I didn’t miss it much, but as retirement went on I started missing it more. I tried to come back a couple times and it didn’t work out so I thought I’d give it one more shot,” Ostertag told Pro Basketball Talk following Tuesday’s game. “I’d been thinking about it while they were working on the NBA lockout so when they got the lockout done I made a call to my agent and asked what he thought the chances were. He said ‘let’s give it a shot, we’ll try to get you on a D-League team’ and here I am.”
Five-plus years after retiring from the Jazz, the player whose size, ability and wasted potential made him a subject of curiosity and derision for 10 seasons and 700 games in Utah is attempting a comeback at age 38. He wishes he could replay his NBA career with greater commitment, and this is his only hope: Greg Ostertag officially is a Legend. This status will be temporary, one way or another. In February, an NBA team could sign him to a 10-day contract. Otherwise, he’ll just “get in my truck and drive back to Arizona with a smile on my face,” he said after his D-League debut in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, 40 miles from his hometown of Duncanville. What’s he doing here? “I just want to play,” he said. “I miss it. I’ve missed it ever since I quit.”
But after a year away, he found himself missing the game and after several previous comeback attempts he landed with the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League in December. “I just still wanted to play. I missed it and wanted to give it one more shot to see if I still had it,” Ostertag said. “I believe I still have a little bit left in the tank. I’ll give this a good little shot here for a while and if it doesn’t pan out, it doesn’t pan out.” The move is a good fit for the 38-year-old big man on several fronts. One, the Legends play in Frisco, a northern Dallas suburb and Ostertag is from the area. Two, the team is affiliated with the reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks, the same team he grew up rooting for. So far, he has played two games for the Legends and is averaging 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 points over about 20 minutes a night. “It’s been fun. These guys are all good players. They work hard,” he said. “You’ve got to come ready to play every night.”
Greg Ostertag admits he was fed up with basketball. That was why in 2006, after his 11th season in the NBA, including 10 in Utah, he walked away at age 33. “Just burned out, tired at the time. I shouldn’t have (retired) but I did and here I am,” Ostertag said. “I was tired of playing basketball — the travel, the hotels, the practices and a lot of the other BS that goes with basketball. At the time, I was done.”
He joined the Legends last week and thus far, has appeared in two games for the D-League affiliate of the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks and the former Kansas Jayhawk is averaging 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 points thus far. “So far, it’s been fun. These guys are all good players,” Ostertag said. “They work hard. They all have a goal that they want to continue to play basketball and make a living out of it. Some will make it to the top level. Others will go play overseas. You’ve got to come ready to play every night.”
“I got offers from the D-League before (Ricky Davis or Greg Ostertag) ever thought about playing in the D-League,” Finley said. “My thing is, I want to play basketball, I would enjoy playing in the D-League, but at the same time I don’t want to take an opportunity away from a young guy to get exposure. I’m still thinking about it. If the right situation comes, where I could be something like a player-coach, maybe I would take that opportunity.”
Thursday night probably didn’t go as planned for two of the more high-profile players in the NBA Development League as they embarked on the first step of their NBA comeback. Former NBA starters Ricky Davis and Greg Ostertag both played in their first career D-League games, but neither was able to make much of an impact. Ostertag became the oldest player in the D-League when he joined the Texas Legends earlier in the week and, in a move that wasn’t at all surprising, the 38-year-old looked that way when he took the court for the D-League affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks. The longtime center for the Utah Jazz scored just two points in 17 minutes of court time while fouling four times to almost offset the 11 rebounds he hauled in for the losing team. It’s obvious that Ostertag plans to play his way in to shape over the next two weeks leading up to the make-or-break D-League Showcase, but as the picture at left shows, he isn’t exactly in shape as of yet. His conditioning was most apparent when getting beat in the paint — the fouls he picked up came as a result of this — but there were numerous times when the Legends pushed the ball up court only to find themselves going 4-on-5 as Ostertag lumbered his way back on the offensive end.
Ostertag spent most of his NBA career with the Utah Jazz and was one of the most the best shot-blockers in the league, swatting a shot every 11.4 minutes of playing time. “I missed playing,” Ostertag said. “I shouldn’t have quit when I did and I feel like I got to give it one last shot to see if I can make it happen. “I know there’s a lot of naysayers out there who think I couldn’t play when I was younger and how am I going to be able to play now? But I’m going to give myself a month or two to get in really good shape and see what happens.”
Greg Ostertag, the center from Duncanville who went to Kansas and spent most of his 11-year NBA career with the Utah Jazz, was working out with the Mavericks’ Alexis Ajinca at American Airlines Center. Ostertag won’t be wearing a Mavericks’ uniform, but he may be close to earning a spot as a player and/or assistant coach with the Texas Legends, who will play in Frisco as part of the NBA Development League. Ostertag, 37, has been out of basketball for four years. He spent nine seasons with Utah, then was with Sacramento for one year before returning to the Jazz for the 2005-06 season, after which he retired. Legends co-owner Donnie Nelson said it’s possible Ostertag will join the team. The likable big man averaged 4.6 points and 5.5 rebounds for his NBA career. Asked if the Mavericks might have an interest in Ostertag, Nelson said that they already have four centers on the roster (Brendan Haywood , Tyson Chandler , Ajinca and Ian Mahinmi) and aren’t looking to add more.