Although the Memphis Grizzlies are currently focused on extending their season by making a return to the postseason after a four-year playoff drought, the team has plenty of question marks hanging above them once their season finally does come to an end.
While the main priorities for the team this offseason will be attempting to keep Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, both of whom are free agents this summer, there is another key player on the Grizzlies' roster whose future the front office will have to make a decision on: O.J. Mayo.
The team clearly doesn't have the money to commit to Mayo for the long-term, meaning they will have to make a choice this summer: trade him or lose him as a free agent for nothing.
Considering Memphis tried (and failed) to send Mayo to the Indiana Pacers at the trade deadline this season, I think they will likely make another attempt to move him during the offseason.
The Grizzlies clearly need all of the money they can get to attempt to keep both Z-Bo and Gasol, and one way to accomplish that would be to move Mayo and the $5.63 million he is owed next season to clear some cap space.
Even though Mayo is averaging career-lows in almost every statistical category this season, there should be plenty of suitors if Memphis does indeed try again to move him during the offseason.
Along with the Pacers, the Chicago Bulls also reportedly had strong interest in acquiring Mayo at the trade deadline and would likely still be open to acquiring him this summer.
If the Grizzlies were to deal Mayo to the Bulls, they would likely have their choice between Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver, along with a draft pick or two, in return.
Another option Memphis might consider would be to include Mayo in a potential sign-and-trade deal involving Gasol or Z-Bo if it becomes clear that one of the two is on the way out.
One of the biggest reasons Mayo has become expendable to the Grizzlies has been the outstanding, all-around play of Tony Allen this season.
While Mayo might be the better offensive player of the two, Allen is definitely a better all-around player than Mayo
According to Basketball-Reference.com, Mayo has a PER of 12.5 this season.
By comparison, Allen has a PER of 17.7, which is the eighth-highest PER in the league among shooting guards this season.
Making matters worse for Mayo is the fact that he reportedly started a fight with Allen over a game of cards on a team flight earlier this season.
Not only did Mayo reportedly start the confrontation, he also reportedly lost the ensuing fight by a landslide.
However, surprisingly, this wasn't even the straw that broke the camel's back for Mayo.
That came in late January when Mayo was suspended for 10 games by the league for using an illegal performance-enhancing substance.
Memphis went 8-2 during that span without Mayo and didn't miss a beat in their march for the playoffs, which was likely the main reason Memphis was comfortable with trying to move him at the deadline.
While it's not written anywhere in stone, to my knowledge anyway, I thoroughly expect the Grizzlies will trade Mayo this summer, thus ending his three-year tenure in Memphis.
The real question is this:
What will the Grizzlies receive in return when they do eventually move Mayo?
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!