O.J. Mayo: Top 5 Destinations for the Troubled Memphis Grizzlies Guard
Mayo experienced two phenomenal seasons with the Grizzlies to start his career, but in his third year he dropped out of the starting lineup and saw his numbers, consistency and confidence all plummet.
Not only did Mayo's efficiency drop, but he was also involved in a number of off-court issues. Mayo was suspended for the first 10 games of the 2010-11 season after testing positive for steroids, and engaged his teammate (and competitor at the shooting guard position) Tony Allen in a fight over a debt related to a card game.
Mayo's inconsistencies last season made it clear that he is unsatisfied with a bench role, and there are plenty of teams in the league where a player of his talent could be starting. The following five destinations, in particular, would be excellent fits for Mayo.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
O.J. Mayo is a dynamic scorer whose elite athleticism and shooting ability make him best suited for a fast paced, free flowing offense. The Phoenix Suns, who run one of the league's most up-tempo attacks, would be an excellent fit for Mayo.
As a starter on the Suns, Mayo could easily average 20+ PPG as the primary scoring option and would benefit from playing alongside veteran guards like Steve Nash and Vince Carter.
The Suns, in return, could offer the Grizzlies Robin Lopez and Jared Dudley. In Lopez, the Grizzlies would find a legitimate backup center for Marc Gasol, while the acquisition of Dudley would give them a more willing sixth man to replace Mayo.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
The Cleveland Cavaliers were the worst team in the East last season, finishing with a terrible record of 19-63. One of the major reasons for the Cavaliers' shortcoming was their lack of quality wing players.
While LeBron James was on the team, the Cavs had no need to stock up on talented wing players. After all, they sported the most talented small forward in basketball.
However, now that LeBron James' days as a Cavalier are long gone, Cleveland is in need of some new wing players to help ease the franchise into a new era. O.J. Mayo could be just the man for the job.
Mayo would instantly be a starter and the No. 1 scoring option for the rebuilding Cavaliers, and when paired with Kyrie Irving, Omri Casspi and Tristan Thompson would give the Cavs some hope for the future.
Had the O.J. Mayo deal at the deadline gone through, The Grizzlies would have acquired Josh McRoberts from the Indiana Pacers.
The Grizzlies clearly feel that they could still use another big man to bolster the second unit and back up Marc Gasol, and could be enticed by a swap of Anderson Varejao for Mayo.
The floppy-haired Brazilian is one of the NBA's preeminent hustle players and would reinforce the backbone of the Grizzlies' defense.
Although the Cavaliers would be rather low on big men without Varejao, they could look to pick up a new big in the free-agency, and would be wise to make the Grizzlies this offer.
George Frey/Getty Images
The Utah Jazz are currently in need of an upgrade at shooting guard. Raja Bell is on the decline and Alec Burks, who the Jazz selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2011 Draft, is likely too raw to start for the team at this point.
The Jazz have put together a very solid young core, and are just a couple of pieces away from being a major threat in the West.
O.J. Mayo could be one of those pieces, and would be a great fit on the Jazz. His shooting ability would complement Devin Harris' tendency to attack the rim, and he would provide the team with a primary scoring option on the wing.
The Jazz have a fairly severe logjam at the power forward and center positions, where Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, Mehmet Okur and Enes Kanter will all compete for playing time next season.
Utah can afford to part with one or two of these players, and could offer Paul Millsap to the Grizzlies in exchange for Mayo and Darrell Arthur.
Although bringing in Arthur would not change the number of big men in Utah's frontcourt, Arthur is not quite at Millsap's levels an is more accustomed to limited minutes.
Millsap would greatly enforce the Grizzlies' front line, and although he would be forced to return to the second unit, he would still get 28+ minutes per game backing up Randolph and Gasol and could learn a lot from Randolph.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
If you fail once, try again.
The Indiana Pacers were unable to beat the trade deadline in their initial attempt to acquire O.J. Mayo from the Memphis Grizzlies. However, they should continue to pursue him as soon as the lockout ends.
The Pacers ended last season with Paul George starting at shooting guard. And although George is undoubtedly a talented player with star potential, he is 6'9" and better suited for the small forward position.
Mayo would be a significant upgrade over the other shooting guards on the Pacers' roster and could help the team make a deeper push into the playoffs next season (if there is one).
The Pacers could offer a different package this time, consisting of James Posey’s expiring contract and Brandon Rush.
Rush is a capable wing scorer who could make up for Mayo’s production, while Posey is a well-traveled veteran whose contract of about $7.5 million ends after the 2011-12 season.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Although Keith Bogans played solid defense last year, he was liability on offense and the Bulls need a viable three-point threat at the shooting guard position.
O.J. Mayo, who thus far in his career has shot just a shade under 38 percent from deep, is the perfect man for the job. The Bulls have aggressively pursued a trade involving Mayo, but lack the necessary assets to get a deal done.
The Bulls reportedly offered Ronnie Brewer, two first-round picks and a second-round pick to the Grizzlies in exchange for Mayo but, unsurprisingly, they were turned down.
If the Bulls wish to acquire Mayo, they will likely need to get a third team involved. Chances of Mayo ending up in Chicago are very slim, but just imagining it gives me goose bumps.
Which Leads Me to a Crazy Idea...
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
The Bulls want Mayo, the Rockets need a center, and the Grizzlies like Courtney Lee.
What about a three-way swap that gives each team what it wants?
Bulls get: O.J. Mayo
Rockets get: Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer
Grizzlies get: Courtney Lee
Although the Bulls were unwilling to part with Asik in order to acquire Lee, it could be a different story if they see a chance to acquire Mayo.
The Rockets obviously benefit by getting a beast of a center in Omer Asik, while also snagging a lockdown defender in the process.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies would score a potential shooting guard of the future in Lee, since the Mayo-Grizzlies marriage simply was not meant to be.