The Grizzlies will not extend a qualifying offer to O.J. Mayo to make him a restricted free agent, reports Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal (via Twitter). The decision means that Mayo will become an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any team, without the Grizz having the opportunity to match offers.
When I examined Mayo's free agent stock last month, I predicted that the former third overall pick wouldn't receive a qualifying offer from Memphis. Given the large commitments elsewhere on the Grizzlies' payroll, extending a one-year offer worth $7.39MM would have represented a major risk for the team — if Mayo accepted the one-year deal, it would almost certainly have pushed the Grizzlies over the luxury tax threshold, unless they were able to trade away significant salary.
With Mayo set to hit the open market, the Celtics and Lakers are among the teams with "strong interest," tweets Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio. We've also heard the Knicks mentioned as a potential suitor for the 24-year-old, but they're unlikely to have the funds to be a serious contender.
The Grizzlies also decided not to extend a qualifying offer to Lester Hudson, making him an unrestricted free agent, according to Tillery.