As the frenzy that is the NBA free-agency period ensues, O.J Mayo is an undervalued name that cannot be slept on.
Though Mayo is not considered in the same class of athlete as Deron Williams or Steve Nash, his potential two-way impact will have no shortage of suitors. The list of possible destinations has only widened since that the Memphis Grizzlies opted not to extend a qualifying offer Mayo's way, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.
Update: Friday, July 20 — Ethan Norof
-Content for this update was provided by B/R's Dallas Mavericks Offseason tracker.
Update 5: Monday, July 16 — Maxwell Ogden
According to a tweet from O.J. Mayo's official Twitter account, the 6'4" shooting guard will be signing with the Dallas Mavericks.
This is the best possible move for O.J. Mayo, as he enters the situation that fits him best. Rather than taking on a supporting role, the ball will be in Mayo's hands as he runs the perimeter as Dirk Nowitzki takes it in down low.
Terms have yet to be disclosed.
Update 4: Monday, July 16 — Ethan Norof
Mayo's name is one of the biggest remaining on the market, and he's looking for a major pay day at this point in his career.
OJ Mayo came to town but Suns made no contract offer. He wants 8 mill + a year and for Phx to be interested that price has to come down.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) July 15, 2012
It's not really surprising that Mayo is looking for such a lucrative contract.
The former No. 3 overall pick is looking to cash in on his first four seasons with the Grizzlies, but his decline in efficiency from the floor has some understandably concerned. Mayo will have to prove to any interested team that he's a more efficient scorer than he's shown over the last two seasons.
Update 3: Saturday, July 14
With Eric Gordon staying in New Orleans, it appears as if the hype surrounding O.J. Mayo has grown to sensational levels. With four contenders champing at the bit, it appears as if his availability could be limited to the next few days.
Free agent G OJ Mayo getting interest from Lakers, Chicago, Phoenix and Dallas and hopes to make decision in next 10 days, source tells Y!— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 14, 2012
The only question at this point is where Mayo believes is best for himself. With two legitimate contenders and another two fighting for the postseason, the decision should be a difficult one.
Update 2: Friday, July 13 -- Joel C. Cordes
While the Boston Celtics are being named as an O.J. Mayo suitor, the Phoenix Suns are the ones actually making a move for him according to Yahoo! Sports.
Since the New Orleans Hornets have given all indication that they'll match Eric Gordon, the Suns are hard up to find a starting-caliber shooting guard.
This would seem to be a great situation for Mayo, as he'd be the clear-cut starter while playing along versatile distributor, Goran Dragic. Mayo's ball-handling and range would certainly create a multi-faceted backcourt to pair with Michael Beasley and Marcin Gortat.
With the big names gone, watch for quite a bit of scrambling for O.J. Mayo now.
Update: Friday, July 13 -- Joel C. Cordes
O.J. Mayo's name hasn't surfaced in more than just fleeting rumors, but with the free agent pool beginning to drain, there are a couple of tangible suitors beginning to emerge:
Mentioned most in NBA calls today: Whether or not Celtics can work out sign-and-trade for OJ Mayo, or perhaps Courtney Lee.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) July 12, 2012
For all their newfound depth, the Celtics certainly could use more explosiveness and speed to run with Rajon Rondo. A core group of Mayo, Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo would be an intriguing step forward in the coming years.
- Content for this update provided by Bleacher Report's Boston Celtics offseason tracker.
Update: Saturday, July 7 — Joel C. Cordes
Indiana Pacers insider, Mike Wells, has been mentioning O.J. Mayo and Courtney Lee as the team's biggest offseason targets for awhile now. Now he believes that Mayo, long coveted by the Pacers, is the front-runner.
Indeed, the Pacers tried to trade for Mayo two seasons ago, and they've inquired about him often. However, Mayo wants the full mid-level exception (which Indy has) and the chance to finally be a full-time starter. That's a gig the Pacers don't have as long as Paul George is on the roster.
Mayo is the consolation prize for the New Orleans Hornets and Phoenix Suns, depending on which one doesn't get Eric Gordon. He could also be in the mix for the Houston Rockets or Dallas Mavericks as they pick up the pieces from a devastating offseason.
The Minnesota Timberwolves could also be a possibility if they're unable to wrest Nic Batum away from the Portland Trail Blazers.
Mayo's scoring ability and size make more sense for Indy than does Courtney Lee, a defensive sniper whose game is far too similar to Dontay Jones: already on the roster.
Signing Mayo might give the Pacers enough depth to trade Danny Granger, thereby moving George to the 3 and slotting Mayo in at the shooting guard spot.
While that's unlikely at the moment, it's a perfectly reasonable Plan B if the Pacers need to recover from letting Roy Hibbert's max contract offer walk to Portland.
Update: Thursday, July 5 — Maxwell Ogden
The Summer of 2012 has offered the NBA one of the craziest free agency periods in NBA history. From shocking signings to unexpected trades, we've had it all! Lost in the midst of the madness, however, is fluctuating star O.J. Mayo.
According to Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star, not every team has left him behind.
“@ToneZone5: Pacers get Mayo, or Courtney Lee? or neither” (Mayo is clear No. 1 choice for Indy)— Mike Wells (@MikeWellsNBA) July 5, 2012
When you take the Indiana Pacers' half-court inefficiency to account, it's not hard to see why they're targeting Mayo. The question is, would Mayo want to spend another season in competition for playing time? With 6'10" shooting guard Paul George under contract, he'd likely be doing just that.
An interesting development to watch with a close eye.
Update: Wednesday, July 4 — Ethan Norof
The signing of Jason Terry effectively takes the Boston Celtics out of the mix for Mayo's services.
But were they ever really in the mix at all? According to Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld, Mayo is looking for more than the midlevel exception, and it's difficult to fathom that the Celtics were ever willing to offer that.
Mayo's agent reportedly views his client as a "consolation prize" for teams such as the Pacers, Suns and Rockets.
Mayo could very well wind up in Phoenix as the Suns look to move on from the Steve Nash era.
Update: Monday, July 2 -- Joel C. Cordes
Rumors continue to circulate around O.J. Mayo, as multiple teams are interested in the versatile guard:
In addition to Nets, the Celtics, Pacers and Suns are in the mix for unrestricted free agent O.J. Mayo, league source says.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 1, 2012
While the Boston Celtics have been cited as one of the front-runners, Mayo's name is just one of many on their radar:
The Boston Celtics are looking for a SG. They have expressed interest in Jamal Crawford, O.J. Mayo, Jason Terry, Nick Young and Sonny Weems.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 1, 2012
The Celtics are still trying to re-sign Ray Allen, and it appears that their pursuit of Mayo will be adjusted accordingly.
The Memphis Grizzlies free agent actually seems to be the back-up plan for quite a few teams, most notably the Brooklyn Nets. They're trying to acquire Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks, hoping that this will be enough to lure Dwight Howard and retain Deron Williams.
Should those options fall through, Mayo will become the next scorer of choice...
Many Teams Like Mayo:
One team in particular who will be making a strong push to land the dynamic scorer's services is the Boston Celtics, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.
The Boston Celtics came close to trading for Memphis' O.J. Mayo just before March's trading deadline, and it appears their interest remains just as strong now.
A league source said the C's continue to be enamored with the 6-foot-5 shooting guard, and are considering making another run at him.
The source said no deal is imminent, but it appears the Celtics are willing to offer up Brandon Bass via a sign and trade.
With Ray Allen's future in Boston in doubt, targeting Mayo makes a lot of sense for the Celtics. Mayo is no stranger to coming off the bench or knocking down open looks and provides a defensive punch on the perimeter that Allen simply never has.
Acquiring Mayo may hinge on Memphis' interest in Boston's own unrestricted free agent, Brandon Bass, yet the Grizzlies are also interested in Allen, leaving the door open for a wide range of possibilities on that front.
That said, Boston will have plenty of competition, as the Indiana Pacers are also expected to set their sights on Mayo, according to Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star.
Indiana has tried—and failed—numerous times to acquire Mayo, but now, without the task of having to strike a deal with Memphis, a union that has been danced around for a couple of years could finally come to fruition.
The buck doesn't stop there, though, as the Brooklyn Nets are also a team who may make a strong play for Mayo.
Though the Nets are discussing the possibility of acquiring Atlanta Hawks All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that Brooklyn will set its sights on Mayo should the potential accord fall through.
Nets, Hawks could reach a decision on possible Joe Johnson deal today, sources tell Y! If trade doesn't happen, Nets will push for OJ Mayo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2012
Mayo makes more sense for a Nets team that will spend $40 million re-signing Gerald Wallace. Any deal Mayo signs stands to be much more reasonable than Johnson's contractual massacre and allows Brooklyn to retain Deron Williams without giving up on its Dwight Howard aspirations.
And that's still not the end of it.
Mayo would do wonders for the Clippers, but with little financial flexibility, finding a meeting ground that both sides are amenable to remains a long shot. Chris Paul's recent bout with Dwight Howard-esque indecisiveness isn't helping their case either.
The Timberwolves are an intriguing possibility, as Ricky Rubio needs—and can never be surrounded by too many—shooters. However, with Minnesota preparing a lucrative offer sheet for restricted free agent Nicolas Batum, Mayo landing next to Kevin Love and Rubio is seemingly a long shot.
The Phoenix Suns—as they prepare to cope with life after Steve Nash—are also believed to be in the mix as well, according to ESPN Insider Rumor Central's Joe Kaiser.
After less than 24 hours of free-agent madness, it's abundantly clear Mayo has a plethora of options at his disposal. Once the dominoes begin to fall, where will Mayo ultimately take his talents?
Keep it right here for the answer, as Bleacher Report will continue to update you on Mayo's status as it unfolds.
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