The Boston Celtics might want OJ Mayo more than he wants them.
O.J. Mayo became an unrestricted free agent on Friday when the Memphis Grizzlies elected not to extend him a qualifying offer, and it may not be long before Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge inquires about the services of the four-year shooting guard.
In 2012-13, OJ Mayo will be a Boston Celtic
Would the Celtics look to Mayo as a potential replacement for Allen? Well, technically, they already have. The C's reportedly came very close to dealing Allen for Mayo back in February, which clearly indicates there's an interest level on Boston's part.
Let's take a closer look at whether or not this is the best deal for each side involved.
Do the Celtics Want OJ Mayo?
If Boston isn't able to sign Ray Allen, they absolutely want OJ Mayo.
You see his 12.6 points per game and immediately think he's on the decline after his first two successful years in the league, but that's not true. What really happened is the Grizzlies moved Mayo into a bench role, and as a result, he averaged just 26.8 minutes per game.
In terms of production per 40 minutes, however, Mayo's points in 2012 were the second highest output of his young career and he increased his rebounds, assists and steals.
Despite the low shooting percentage, the 24-year-old Mayo is actually improving and has his best years in front of him.
If the Celtics choose to start Avery Bradley next to Rajon Rondo, they will badly need some backcourt scoring off the bench. That's what Mayo, who has a bright future in front of him, does best.
This is a great fit for the Celtics.
Does OJ Mayo Want to Play in Boston?
In three years, OJ Mayo will be...
Mayo may have eventually accepted his sixth man role in Memphis, but there's no question he'll want to be a starter and see more offense run through him. He's 24 and likely wants to take the next step towards stardom.
Despite what James Harden did in OKC, a trip to stardom doesn't go through the bench, no matter how silly the classification of "starter" and "bench player" may be.
The talented youngster could go somewhere like Phoenix and immediately have a starting spot if he wanted it.
What's more, the Celtics don't have a ton of cap space. Mayo made $5.6 million last year and it wouldn't be surprising if he wanted a raise. If he does go for big money, it's unlikely the C's will be able to give him what he wants.