O.J. Mayo: Dallas Mavericks Save Offseason by Signing Ex-Memphis Grizzlies Guard

Chris Lawrence@@C_law90Featured ColumnistJuly 17, 2012

Just when it seemed like the Dallas Mavericks were heading for a rebuild, the 2011 NBA Champions' recent revitalization was capped off by the signing of now former Memphis Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo.

Via his twitter account, Mayo wrote,'"I will be signing with Dallas!'" (h/t Fort Worth Star Telegram).

Mayo, one of the more intriguing free agents this offseason, drew interest from multiple suitors, most notably the Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls.

The Mavericks, who were desperately in need of another legitimate guard after losing Jason Terry to the Boston Celtics and Jason Kidd to the New York Knicks, have been making waves since striking out with Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets.

Owner Mark Cuban let a significant chunk of the team's 2011 core go last offseason in order to free up cap space for this offseason, which boasted a relatively lackluster class of free agents. However, in Mayo they've secured the most highly coveted free agent available. 

The Mavericks have also replenished their roster with the additions of Chris Kamen, Darren Collison and Elton Brand. With the signing of Mayo, the Mavericks look to have a great supporting cast in place to assist Dirk Nowitzki in his bid for a second NBA title.

Cuban, one of the most passionate owners in professional sports, also saves himself from the backlash of allowing Terry, Kidd, J.J. Barea and Tyson Chandler to walk away over the past two offseasons.

Adding an explosive and dynamic scoring combo guard in Mayo ensures that the Mavericks will remain relevant in the Western Conference. Only 24 years old, Mayo will flourish in Dallas and will have an expanded role after being underutilized in Memphis.

However, it's unclear how much the Mavericks are paying the 24-year-old guard because they only have $4 million of available cap space (h/t ESPNDallas). It's possible that the Mavericks and Grizzlies are finalizing a sign-and-trade so that Mayo can net the payday he has been anticipating, probably a deal in the neighborhood of $8-10 million per year.

As for whom the Mavericks give up, they might not have to trade away any actual players in a sign-and-trade for Mayo.

The Mavericks created an $8.9 million trade exception when they traded Lamar Odom to the Los Angeles Clippers in a four-team trade that also involved the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets.

Mayo's desired salary would seamlessly fit into the trade exception, meaning that the Mavericks can keep their roster intact and the Grizzlies wouldn't have to take on a smattering of contracts that they're not interested in for the sake of balancing out the trade.

Plus, the Mavericks don't have many pieces to offer Memphis. The Grizzles would definitely command a future draft selection to be part of a such a deal, though, and it would make sense if a third team was recruited to partake in the deal in order to maximize Memphis' return.

Either that or Mayo signs with the Mavs for $4 million or less (annually), which is unlikely.

Whatever the case, this is a definite win for the Dallas Mavericks.

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