Why OJ Mayo for Eric Bledsoe Sign-And-Trade Is Win-Win For Both Teams
Hindsight is 20/20, and in hindsight, this NBA writer was an idiot.
Initially I tried to convince myself (and you) that Arron Afflalo was the perfect acquisition for the Los Angeles Clippers, at the expense of Eric Bledsoe no less. But he isn't, or even close to it. He's certainly not the worst either, the Clippers can just to do better—by landing O.J. Mayo from the Dallas Mavericks in a sign-and-trade.
According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, Hollywood's new head coach Doc Rivers sat down for lunch with the unrestricted free agent shooting guard, presumably to discuss the possibility of him coming to Los Angeles, since the Clippers and Mavs are engaged in trade talks.
Source: Doc Rivers and OJ Mayo are meeting for lunch today. Clips & Mavs currently talking about a Mayo-for-Bledsoe swap— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 2, 2013
First, I wish it was breaking news when I sat down for lunch. I eat it everyday and am pretty damn good at crushing a sandwich (or two).
Second, and lastly, this potential trade is great for both teams, better than the Afflalo deal could ever be for the Clippers. And as for the Mavericks, hot damn. Bledsoe would look good standing next to Dirk Nowitzki next season.
Nothing appears imminent, as Broussard writes that Rivers remains enamored by Bledsoe.
Sources say Doc Rivers strongly inclined to keep Bledsoe. Look for Clips to offer Caron Butler or JCrawford instead if necessary to get Mayo— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 2, 2013
Offering Jamal Crawford and/or Caron Butler isn't going to get Rivers and the Clippers the top-tier wing scorer they so desperately need. Including Bledsoe will, so they should.
They won't come to regret it.
One of the worst kept secrets in the NBA is how badly the Mavericks need a point guard.
In aftermath of Jason Kidd's departure and the (purposely?) botched sales pitch to Deron Williams, the Mavericks ran with Darren Collison as their starting point guard with a touch of Derek Fisher and a dash of Mike James sprinkled in.
Then they missed the postseason for the first time in 12 years.
I've got nothing against Collison–Dallas didn't really give him too fair a shake. I also completely understand that Nowitzki missed 29 games this season, but what they have going on at the 1 isn't all that promising.
Mostly because they have nothing going on.
Dallas has been linked to the Boston Celtics' Rajon Rondo, but he's likely to prove unattainable. Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks has been named as a person of interest as well, but I'd like to think Mark Cuban's Mavericks are smarter than that.
Nearly void of any other viable options, Bledsoe poses an intriguing fit in Big D. Especially if he can be had for a player they're bound to party ways with anyway.
Mayo's stint with the Mavs started hot before he regressed to his personal mean, leaving a bad taste in the mouth of one Rick Carlisle.
In Bledsoe, the Mavs would potentially have their point guard of the future and perhaps even someone who could help lure in prospective free agents next summer when everyone and their friend's mom's sister's pet hamster is on the open market.
Last season's, the backup point guard's per-36 minute averages were through the roof, sitting at 14.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.5 steals and 1.3 blocks. Only one other player in NBA history has duplicated such a per-36 minute stat line while actually logging more than 10 minutes a night.
You might have heard of him. He goes by the name of Michael Jordan.
As I've stressed previously, Bledsoe isn't the second-coming of His Airness. And you can make of his numbers what you will. Either way, what he did behind Chris Paul was impressive.
That he'll cost the Mavs just $2.6 million next season before they likely sign him to an extension is even better.
If Dallas has to take back Butler or Crawford (my guess is Butler) to make it happen, then it will. Butler's contract comes off the books next season and the Mavs could use an additional wing scorer with Mayo headed elsewhere.
Detractors of the deal will cite Bledsoe's youth as an inevitable detriment. The Mavs may not make the playoffs next season with him running the show.
So what? If Bledsoe is all the Mavs can get this offseason, they weren't headed to the postseason anyway. And once again, Bledsoe would cost them next to nothing next year, so it's not like he ruins their free-agency pursuits.
Quite the contrary, in fact. Players will be more inclined to sign with a team who has someone who can deliver them the ball, who can set them up in transition and half-court sets.
Who can run an offense.
Luck would have it that Bledsoe can do just that, and more.
Los Angeles Clippers
Pretending that Mayo doesn't come with baggage and is guaranteed to become a future All-Star is like shopping for a Ferrari and purchasing soup instead—it doesn't make any sense.
Mayo has always had his issues. That's part of the reason why the Memphis Grizzlies cut him loose last summer and most definitely the reason why his tenure in Dallas is over.
Beneath that jagged exterior and tainted resume, however, there is a 25-year-old scoring machine with star-esque potential.
With the Mavericks last season Mayo dropped 15.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game on palatable 44.9 percent shooting. He also knocked down 40.7 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
Los Angeles could use everything he brings with him (save for maybe that no-shave pact he once made). He can serve as the primary scoring option on the perimeter and even a secondary playmaker, even before Crawford.
His defense is one of the more underrated aspects of his game as well. Mayo has quick feet, timely hands and I've always been partial to his ability to impede opposing ball-handlers off the dribble.
Some food for thought: Mayo held shooting guards and small forwards to a combined 10.9 PER last season, according to 82games.com (14.9 shooting guard; 6.9 small forwards). Such numbers aren't an end-all, be-all metric, but they're a useful barometer.
What he adds to their mediocre three-point attack is also cause for excitement. They connected on a forgettable 35.8 percent of their deep balls last season.
Add in Mayo's 38.2 percent career clip from the outside and the Clippers have a specialized perimeter weapon who isn't prone to injury (Chauncey Billups) and shooting anomalies (Crawford).
I'm not going to try and hide the fact that I think Mayo would blossom under Rivers either.
He's had some pretty good coaches through the first five seasons of his career, but Carlisle only had access to him for one year and has never exactly oozed patience.
His other coach, Lionel Hollins—still unemployed, by the way—misused him in ways that are worthy of drawing comparisons to the how the Sacramento Kings are currently wrecking Jimmer Fredette's career.
Under Rivers, though, Mayo would be exposed to the ideal coaching culture. Doc was able to navigate the choppy waters of coaching Rondo (for the most part) and has shown a willingness to give his more impressionable minds some leeway, a la Jared Sullinger.
That he can teach Mayo how to speak is raspy dialects is merely a bonus.
Which team would win the proposed O.J. Mayo-Eric Bledsoe trade?
Playing alongside a top-tier floor general like Paul will also aide in Mayo's ongoing development. He may even reach his ceiling (finally).
These Clippers and that Mayo could do great things together. It's unfortunate it will cost Los Angeles Bledsoe, though they were/are bound to let him walk next summer.
Capitalizing on what is an inevitable departure with a player like Mayo makes too much sense.
In due time, it may even make for a championship-worthy backcourt in Los Angeles.
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