OJ Mayo will be coming in to replace some of Jason Terry's production.
Update (11:42 p.m. CT): ESPNDallas.com's Jeff Caplan reports the Mayo deal is for two years with the second being a player option. That takes a little edge off the potential risk and let's not forget, part of the reason the Mavericks couldn't lure Deron Williams was because he wasn't convinced about the roster. Perhaps having Mayo potentially stick around will help in the recruiting process in 2013. Just a thought.
Original post: Yeah, this is looking pretty official:
@JuiceMayo32. Welcome to the family OJ. We are fired up !! MFFL Mavs/Mayo Fan For Life !— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) July 17, 2012
So it looks like the Mavericks have found their shooter. Mayo has progressively gotten worse since his rookie year in Memphis, with practically all his numbers in decline: minutes, points, shooting percentages, attempts, etc.
This move can't be judged until the final figures are announced, but ESPNDallas.com's Jeff Caplan is reporting the deal is for multiple years. That goes against the Mavericks "one-year rental" approach the last two off seasons, but, again, we don't know what the exact details are and we don't know how many years are guaranteed.
If the annual money is any more than the $4 million the Mavericks have remaining on the cap, this dampens the move extremely. Mayo is a great talent, but his steady decline should have all sorts of red flags. Committing to a player who is only getting worse when the ultimate goal is to lure a big-name free agent isn't exactly great news. Mayo's a risk, no doubt about it.
Oddly enough, Mayo's decline goes against the progress Memphis has made as a franchise. As the Grizzlies as a team got better, Mayo got worse. Some of that is due to the emergence of Tony Allen and some due to the Grizzlies pound-it-inside style with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Even so, it's alarming that as better players surrounded him, Mayo got worse. He screams the typical "volume scorer" -- an inefficient producer who can only put up numbers when handed out minutes and shot attempts. Mayo's field goal percentage the last two seasons is just a little over 40 percent.
But, Mayo is only 24-years-old. He hasn't reached the end of his NBA growth -- there's still time for him to mature into a player that can maximize his basketball talents. And he can shoot. Despite his overall field goal percentage plummeting, Mayo still has never shot under 36 percent from three in his four seasons. He isn't afraid of taking a big shot, he can be useful in pick and roll situations.
Let's not also forget, Dallas was awful last season offensively (21st in offensive efficiency, according to hoopdata.com.) The Mavericks need scoring (weird typing that) perhaps more than ever, and Mayo can score. He will attempt to run the two-man game with Dirk Nowitzki and hopefully that can generate some better looks. Mayo will still have to fine tune that pick and roll game because, despite his skills, he's shot very poorly as a pick and roll ball handler in his career, according to MySynergySports.com. He's also turned it over quite a bit in those situations. But again, maybe with Rick Carlisle's coaching and a more defined role, he can improve in those situations.
This is certainly a gamble. If Mayo really is in Dallas for multiple years and his decline continues, this deal could be a disaster for the Mavericks superstar pursuit. But if Rick Carlisle can reign in Mayo, take away his bad habits and accentuate his smooth scoring skills, the Mavericks could have an adequate, younger and more athletic replacement for Jason Terry.
Mayo will presumably slide into the starting two guard spot (considering Mayo didn't respond well to being a sixth man last year) and be Darren Collison's backcourt mate. Having two, young, athletic 24-year-olds that can still improve isn't a bad way to replace an aging back court of Jason Kidd and Jason Terry. There are certainly worse options in the league.
This move also has to have some implication on Rodrigue Beaubois. Does Mayo push Beaubois down the pecking order or do the Mavs decide to part ways with Delonte West? Personally, I can't imagine the Mavericks not bringing in West if they have the means to do so, which would mean Beaubois' minutes are once again undetermined and not guaranteed. Who knows what the future will be for the Mavericks young fourth-year guard. That's probably another post for another day.
For now, Mavericks fans, have a subdued enthusiasm. Dallas has reworked its roster marvelously over the last week and Mayo provides another talented and intriguing piece to the puzzle. But this move is certainly the most risky. Mayo has been dogged by reports of immaturity and an inability to coexist within a team's structure. Should the Mavericks and Carlisle reach Mayo and make him the better-than-average defender he's capable of being and a somewhat efficient scorer, Dallas should be an even tougher squad then it was week ago.
Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson, we are not worthy.
PS, here are Mayo's career numbers: