NBA Rumors: O.J. Mayo Would Be Wise to Sign with Los Angeles Lakers

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIJuly 16, 2012

MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 29: O.J. Mayo #32 of the Memphis Grizzlies celebrates after making a three point shot against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on April 29, 2012 in Memphis, Tennessee.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After four fairly successful seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, O.J. Mayo is now a free agent. After being cast loose by Memphis, the USC product would be smart to head back to Los Angeles and learn from Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

Mayo began his career with two stellar seasons. As a rookie during the 2008-09 season, he averaged 18.5 points per game, while starting 81 contests. In 2009-10, Mayo averaged 17.5 points per game, while starting all 82. Since then the 6'4" shooting guard has lost his starting spot and fallen out of favor with Memphis' coaching staff. 

Now he's a free agent after averaging 12.6 points per game and playing in all 66 contests (no starts) this past season. 

Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports claims the Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks are all interested in the 24-year-old guard. While Mayo could probably command more money elsewhere, taking a smaller salary on a one-year contract and sharing a backcourt with Bryant and Steve Nash would benefit his career in the long-term tremendously. 

Bryant and Nash could take Mayo under their wing and show him what it means to be a professional. While he is incredibly talented, it has always seemed like Mayo is surviving on that talent alone. 

Guys like Bryant and Nash are superstars because of the way they prepare, practice and work out. Mayo could use a chance to learn what it takes to be a star. He never got that in Memphis because he was thrust into a starting role immediately on a young team. 

While it may not seem like the smartest option financially, the best thing for Mayo's future would be a stint in Los Angeles with the Lakers.