Sources: Mavs exploring Mayo/Bledsoe sign-and-trade

The Mavericks’ search for a starting point guard includes exploring a potential sign-and-trade deal that would send O.J. Mayo to the Los Angeles Clippers and bring Eric Bledsoe to Dallas, sources told ESPNDallas.com.

The Clippers, who called Mayo in the early hours of free agency, are aggressively shopping Bledsoe, a dynamically athletic, 23-year-old, three-year veteran who has spent the last two seasons serving as Chris Paul’s apprentice. Bledsoe, an outstanding defender who averaged 8.5 points and 3.1 assists in 20.4 minutes per game last season, is widely seen as being ready for a starting role.

The Mavericks and Clippers have been exchanging concepts on a sign-and-trade headlined by both Mayo and Bledsoe this week, sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.

“It’s been discussed,” said one source close to the process.

The deal would have to include other pieces because Bledsoe is due to make $2.63 million next season in the final year of his rookie deal, which is likely to be far less than what Mayo will get this summer.

One source said swingman Matt Barnes, a gritty free-agent swingman who averaged 10.3 points and 4.6 rebounds off the Clippers’ bench last season, could be part of the deal. The Mavs would first have to convince Barnes to come to Dallas.

Aaron Goodwin, Barnes’ agent, said the Mavs are one of 12 teams that have expressed interest in Barnes during the first day of free agency.

“He knows Mark (Cuban) is going to be able to build a championship team,” Goodwin told ESPNDallas.com. “If the Mavericks are interested, we’re definitely going to listen.”

The Mavs also have interest in Clippers free-agent guard Chauncey Billups. Mayo signed a one-year, $4 million deal with Dallas last summer in part because of the advice of Billups, who credited Carlisle for helping his career take off during their year together in Detroit.

The deal is among the Mavs’ potential contingency plans if they don’t win the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. Dallas would have to renounce Mayo’s rights as part of the process of clearing out the cap space to give Howard a max contract.