NBA Free Agents 2012: Power Ranking Best Landing Spots for O.J. Mayo
Mayo has the talent to be a starter in the NBA, but he was relegated to a reserve role for the better part of the past two seasons with Memphis.
A change of scenery (and increased playing time) may be just what the doctor ordered for Mayo—a dynamic player who averaged 18 points per game during his two seasons in the Grizzlies' starting lineup.
With the free agency period set to begin in earnest, here are the six most likely destinations for O.J. Mayo this offseason.
6. New York Knicks
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Between Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, the New York Knicks have a lot of irons in the fire this summer. That still won't prevent them from going after O.J. Mayo in case some of the team's other plans fall through.
However, according to Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, Mayo is just one of the names on the Knicks' wish list this offseason. New York doesn't have much to offer in terms of money and playing time, but the appeal of the Big Apple can't be entirely discounted.
5. Los Angeles Lakers
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When given starter's minutes, Mayo is more than capable of scoring 16-plus points per game, and his addition would relieve some of the burden on Bryant to carry the Lakers' offense.
The move makes even more sense in the long term, as Los Angeles needs to start making preparations for life after Kobe. If he were to sign with the Lakers, Mayo could pair with fellow 24-year-old Andrew Bynum to form one of the more promising young duos in the Western Conference.
4. Brooklyn Nets
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The Nets and Grizzlies discussed a Mayo-for-Anthony Morrow trade earlier this year, but the talks never gained much momentum.
Brooklyn is still clinging to the hope of uniting Deron Williams and Dwight Howard, but if that plan doesn't appear to be going anywhere, it would make sense for the Nets to use some of their cap space on Mayo.
Assuming Williams walks, Brooklyn will be in desperate need of a backcourt mate to pair with MarShon Brooks. If Mayo winds up in New York and if the team can re-sign Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez, the Nets might make a surprise run at a playoff spot as early as next season.
3. Indiana Pacers
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Mayo was essentially traded by the Grizzlies to the Indiana Pacers back in 2011 for Josh McRoberts and a pick, but an ESPN.com report shows that the two teams failed to submit the required paperwork in time for the trade to become official.
Indiana has plenty of cap space with which to sign Mayo, and the former USC guard could even start at the 2 spot depending on what happens with current Pacers guard George Hill this summer.
2. Chicago Bulls
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With Derrick Rose on the shelf for the better part of the year, Mayo would be a decent option if the Bulls choose to use their mid-level exception on a replacement.
Mayo is more than capable of starting at the point if necessary, and he can easily transition into a sixth-man role once Rose recovers from the knee injury that he suffered back in April.
Furthermore, with Rip Hamilton essentially on the last year of his deal (the Bulls hold a $5 million team option for 2013-14), Mayo would be the perfect long-term solution at the shooting guard position.
1. Boston Celtics
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A Comcast Sportsnet report said the Celtics had interest in acquiring Mayo before the trade deadline. Now that the 6'4" combo guard is an unrestricted free agent, expect Danny Ainge to make a strong play for Mayo's services.
Prior to the draft, Boston was reportedly willing to swap forward Brandon Bass for Mayo, but nothing ever came to fruition. After drafting two forwards and a center on Thursday, the Celtics now have the freedom to deal Bass, who appears less likely to return to the team.
Mayo is the very definition of a combo guard, and his playmaking and shot-creation abilities are two traits currently missing from the Celtics' bench.
Mayo could probably make far more money elsewhere, but if he's interested in winning a title, Boston may be the best destination for him.