The Dallas Mavericks may find better options in free agency, but O.J. Mayo may not. If the 25-year-old hopes to get the most out of a new contract, he’s better off re-signing with the Mavericks on a long-term deal.
According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, Mayo plans to opt out of his deal this offseason in hopes of returning on a new contract:
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.
While it’s unclear what the shooting guard hopes to earn in a new contract, it may be more than what other teams are willing to pay. After struggling with consistency in 2011-12 (especially against Western Conference foes), the market could presumably be even smaller than it was when Mayo hit the market last offseason.
Despite averaging 12.6 points, 2.6 assists and 3.2 rebounds last season with the Memphis Grizzlies, Mayo was left to find a new home on the free-agent market. Memphis has tried to trade the former No. 3 pick several times, but failed to find a suitor (h/t Tim MacMahon of ESPN).
Dallas took a chance on the 6’4” shooting guard, however, and the product of that risk has yet to be determined. His 15.3 points-per-game average last season was encouraging, but there’s a lot of work left to do.
Rick Carlisle was hard on Mayo after a putrid performance against his former team on April 15—a game in which he shot just 1-of-6 from the field in a must-win affair. But after Carlisle’s harsh criticism, the 53-year-old head coach cleared the air with some positive comments that could be an indication of a favorable end to Mayo’s pursuit of a new contract (as quoted by MacMahon):
He'll come out of this a much better and more experienced player. My feelings about him haven't changed. I've spent so much time with him, I really feel like a Little League parent. So when there's an opportunity for him to step up, I really want to see him do well.
If Carlisle truly is in Mayo’s corner, there probably won’t be a better place for him to develop into the player he was expected to be coming out of USC in 2008. There’s no denying the need for the 25-year-old to get better, and another change of scenery could prove to be another stumbling block in his progress.
Of course, there’s no guarantee the Mavericks will choose to re-sign Mayo should he officially opt out. But given the question marks surrounding his consistency and NBA potential at this point in his career, he should at least try to make returning to Dallas a priority this summer.