Tuesday was a tough day for O.J. Mayo.
Two of the teams that had showed the most interest in Mayo committed to other shooting guards, with the Los Angeles Clippers giving J.J. Redick a four-year, $27 million deal as part of a three-team sign-and-trade deal and the Minnesota Timberwolves agreeing to a four-year deal in the $30 million range with Kevin Martin.
The Utah Jazz, Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers, Charlotte Bobcats and Chicago Bulls are other teams reported to have contacted Mayo in the opening day of free agency. Chicago is limited to the mini-midlevel exception, but there’s still a chance Mayo could get an offer in the Redick/Martin range.
If that’s the case, the Mavs will bid him farewell while examining potential sign-and-trade scenarios, unless they’ve had to renounce Mayo’s rights to clear out cap space to sign Dwight Howard.
What if Mayo slips through the free agency cracks for the second consecutive summer? The Mavs would welcome him back at the right price. He has indicated that he'd prefer to return to Dallas, but he isn't going to pass up a better offer to do so.
Mayo was often the target of coach Rick Carlisle’s tough-love wrath last season – and was ripped by the coach for his poor effort in the 81st game – but Carlisle is on the record saying he believes Mayo can be a starter on a contender.
“I like O.J. a lot,” Carlisle said the day after the season ended. “I think he fits into what we’re doing. Like everything else in this world, this is probably going to come down to money.”
At this point, Mayo’s price could be coming down.