Latest News, NBA / Dec 13, 2011 / 1:30 pm

Report: O.J. Mayo Will Not Be Traded & Is Staying In Memphis

O.J. Mayo

O.J. Mayo (photo. John Sturdy)

YES! That was my reaction upon seeing this tweet from The Commercial Appeal in Memphis: Proposed Mayo-McRoberts deal is officially dead, source tells the CA. Mayo told this morning that he won’t be traded anywhere. In what seemed like deja vu, yesterday it was reported the Grizzlies and Pacers had agreed on basically the same deal that was on the plate at last season’s trade deadline: O.J. Mayo to Indiana for Josh McRoberts. But now, the Grizzlies have turned around and told Mayo not to worry about the rumors. He’s staying in Memphis.

It’s still not clear exactly what happened, but some are speculating perhaps Larry Bird found another deal he likes better. There are also several Grizz wings out with injuries (Sam Young is hurt, and Xavier Henry is out for a month with torn ligaments in his ankle).

When he first came out of USC and even during his initial go-round in the NBA, I always looked at Mayo as having healthy Brandon Roy potential. As a playmaker, he perhaps wasn’t on that level. But he was a monster scorer, and throughout most of his rookie year, he was being compared to first-year scoring stars like Allen Iverson. Just weeks into his rookie year, he had back-to-back nights against Denver and Phoenix – scoring 31 and 33 – where it looked like he was supplanting Rudy Gay as the team’s go-to leader. While my expectations have dragged a little after last year’s disaster of a season (Tony Allen fight, suspension, awful shooting percentages, banished to the bench), Mayo should be much better than what he is and it’s starting to piss me off a little bit.

I hardly hear anyone talk about him anymore, and yet listen to fans, critics and writers constantly throw praise on his contemporaries like DeMar DeRozan and James Harden. Against Oklahoma City in the playoffs last year, Mayo averaged just below 14 points a night, over four rebounds and three dimes, and played his best when Memphis needed it. Perhaps it was the presence of Russell Westbrook, who’s had a competitive personal rivalry going on with Mayo ever since their college matchups at USC and UCLA. Whatever it was, Mayo checked Westbrook as tight as you possibly could for much of the seven-game series. O.J. and Harden played to a virtual standstill as well, and yet Harden gets all the love as a potential All-Star. Meanwhile, Mayo is nearly being traded for bummy power forwards.

I wrote yesterday that Memphis is my No. 1 League Pass Team, and the return of Mayo and his shooting (a legitimate weakness for this squad much more than a fourth big man) is a welcome plus. I have no idea what to expect out of him this year – especially since he can kiss a shot at regaining his starting spot goodbye – but I know if Memphis plans to get beyond the Western Conference semis, they needed their best shooter to ball out like we’re in Huntington, West Virginia.

If Mayo had gone to Indiana, he would’ve had to fight just as hard for minutes given how deep that Pacer team suddenly is. Eventually, with their uptempo system and thirst for a shooter on the wings, I think he would’ve regained his old touch. But now he’s back to playing with a team that has a legit contender label. Another deep run in the playoffs would hopefully get people to show him some love.

Is this a good move for Memphis by keeping him or should they have made the deal?

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  • Me


    my favorite player no longer going to the team that i’m closest to geographically. i might have to get league pass if they have it at a good price.

    and yeah, they should have made the deal. Memphis isn’t using him right (barely at all), and he’s a wasted talent in Memphis. They don’t know what to do with him.

    as starting 2 guard in chicago, with occasional pg duty while rose rests, would be ideal. Only better option for that team would be rip hamilton (if his tank isn’t empty).

  • yentron

    I wanna see a sign and trade, nick young for mayo.

  • First & Foremost

    Larry Bird BETTER HAVE found a better trade.

  • TJ 2

    So this is the second time he was almost traded, will he go to Larry Bird and request to be traded! LOL!!

  • QQ

    QQ da boss!

  • NYK

    stern vetoed the trade for mayo reasons.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Slick Ric

    Thats a great comparison of Mayo and B-roy, I still think he could develop into an all-star, not necessarily as good as B-roy would of been though.

  • Atticusmitch

    Not an apology of the poor reporting done by Aaron Phiilps but I’ll take it. OJ is a great player and will do well on any team. Though Indiana needs his help, I think OJ could earn his stripes back and have a big impact on the team. I do think once is contract is done, he will want to sign with a team where he will be a primary scorer, something he is already capable of doing with his athleticism and shooting abilities.

  • http://brokejumper.com/ Brokejumper

    Hope OJ gets his swagger back, Jeremy Pargo will not make it easy on him.

  • Brown

    Glad to see Memphis didn’t trade him for a scrub. Mayo has the talent, but last year he seemed to lose his confidence. If Gay and Mayo can get their games back this year, Memphis should be a contender in the West.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    Hey, I mention him all the time.

    When I’m telling people to leave David Kahn alone. Kahn traded Mayo for Kevin Love. At the time, I was about the only person on these forums that considered that a win for the Wolves.

    Anyone want to argue that now?

    I do like Mayo’s game, though. I hope he has a good season.