One player that was almost traded at the February 2011 trade deadline was Memphis Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo. Mayo was going to be traded to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Josh McRoberts and a 2011 first-round draft pick, but the trade was not completed in time and therefore not made official.
Mayo, a talented basketball player with multiple off-the-court issues—both in college and in his young NBA career—has had these allegations looming over him. Is this a possible reason why the Grizzlies looked to move the young guard/forward at the trade deadline this past February?
Playing college basketball at the University of Southern California turned out to be quite controversial and complicated, but Mayo got a chance to start his NBA career with Memphis.
Mayo joined the Grizzlies in 2008, in a trade that involved veterans like Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the draft rights to Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins.
This was one of the significant steps the Grizzlies organization took in order to rebuild with younger players. He has been an integral player on the young Grizzlies roster, and is only going to get better.
However, the Grizzlies do have a logjam at the guard and forward positions, and may decide to make some room by moving players around.
This past season, Mayo was also suspended for 10 games as a result of a failed drug test, and reportedly got into a heated exchange with teammate Tony Allen over a card game on a flight, which resulted in him being pulled from the starting lineup.
An interesting question that has most likely been brought to Michael Heisley’s attention is whether the Grizzlies should look to trade Mayo, either through free agency or during the season.
The initial thought may be not to do so. Mayo is a young player who can only improve—maybe all of these gray areas are something of the past.
However, is it worth having a player like Mayo who has such allegations being brought up all the time?
This is something that the Grizzlies organization has to think about deeply and decide upon. Mayo was a major contributor in their playoff victories and ride in 2011, but can he rid himself of these allegations that keep tarnishing his name?