O.J. Mayo to opt out of deal

DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks shooting guard O.J. Mayo said he would decline the player option for the second season of his contract, deciding to become a free agent for the second consecutive summer.

Mayo, who could have returned to Dallas for $4.2 million, said he hopes to work out a long-term deal with the Mavs.

"Getting something long term, locking something in is what I think is best for me," Mayo said Thursday after his exit interview with coach Rick Carlisle and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson.

Mayo, 25, averaged 15.3 points, 4.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds while playing a team-high 35.5 minutes per game. His production dipped significantly after the All-Star break, when star forward Dirk Nowitzki started to return to form after missing the first 27 games while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.

Mayo, a five-year veteran and former No. 3 overall pick, has acknowledged being disappointed that a better market didn't develop for him last summer. He said he has yet to seriously consider other teams that might be a fit for him.

"I'm sure new teams have popped up on the list," Mayo said. "I need to talk to my agent [Rob Pelinka] and see what we can work out."

Carlisle said he believes Mayo made major strides as an all-around player this season and could be a foundation piece for the Mavs.

"But like everything else in this world, this is probably going to come down to money," Carlisle said. "I don't know where all that stuff stands. He had a very good year for us, so there's going to be a lot of teams interested in him."

Carlisle harshly criticized Mayo after Monday's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, saying Mayo "failed to compete" during a two-point, four-turnover outing against his former team. However, Carlisle made it clear Thursday that his positive feelings for Mayo have not changed.

"I love O.J. as a kid, as a person," Carlisle said. "I spent more time with him this year than probably any other player I've ever had. With him, I'm a little like a Little League dad. I want him to do well so badly that sometimes it gets the better of me. But that's OK, because if you care that much, it's never a bad thing."