O.J. Mayo had been one of the most talked-about players on the trade wire. Even while the Memphis Grizzlies aren't said to be discussing offers for Mayo, he's being talked about as a trade candidate. One suggestion by an NBA writer has Mayo figuring highly as the trade deadline approaches, even while the Grizzlies are mum on Mayo's trade status.
While Steve Aschburner was on WSCR 670 The Score's Boers and Bernstein on February 24, Aschburner called Mayo the "biggest name that gets moved."
Aschburner explained: "He's a shooting guard. He can score some. He can play some point. He's a handy guy to have."
This seems like a plausible answer to the average NBA fan. Mayo's name has surfaced in numerous trade rumors in the last year. He was reported to have been traded to the Indiana Pacers in December, but that turned out to be just a false report spread by Tony Allen via Twitter.
Even though many would buy Aschburner's word on this topic, Mayo doesn't seem that likely to be the most likely to be traded. Dwight Howard has been on the radar of several teams for months. Also, at least one of the Boston Celtics' Big Three seem to be on their way out.
At that, Mayo doesn't even seem likely to be traded. Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley has said that he doesn't want to trade Mayo because he likes Mayo's talent. Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace is allowed to take calls for Mayo, but Heisley seems to be setting the price for Mayo to high for interested teams.
Wallace told The Commercial Appeal he's not close to making any trades. Wallace said:
We've talked to teams and we'll continue to talk. The frequency of these discussions will get ratcheted up over the next two weeks. But I don't have a deal we would do today. I don't feel we have to deal.
This isn't exactly an open-and-shut case. After all, Mayo is making more than $5 million in the last year of his rookie contract. Since teams could line up for a mile to try to make him a starter, the Grizzlies wouldn't be a sure bet to re-sign him.
For the meantime, Mayo looks to be an invaluable asset for the Grizzlies. He is averaging 12.1 points per game and is the only player off the Grizzlies bench who is a reliable scoring threat. No other Grizzlies reserve has scored in double figures in 10 or more games.
Dante Cunningham, the next highest scoring Grizzlies reserve, averages 5.2 points per game.
Not only is Mayo unlikely to be traded, but the Grizzlies would be mistaken to send him away before the deadline, as the loss of scoring would hurt their chances to make the playoffs.