O.J. Mayo Rumors
June 7 at 8:37am CST By Luke Adams
Yesterday, Timberwolves president Flip Saunders made multiple radio appearances, stressing that he wouldn't trade Kevin Love and that the team wasn't about to just give anyone away in order to move up in the draft. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities has more today on the T-Wolves' offseason plans, so let's dive in and check out the highlights from Wolfson's latest Scoops column....
- The Wolves still have "strong interest" in drafting Victor Oladipo, but Oladipo's representatives have been reluctant to set up a workout for their client until the club shows it has the ability to trade into the top five, says Wolfson.
- While the Wolves appear unlikely to pursue Kevin Martin, who Rick Adelman coached in Houston, O.J. Mayo remains a "big-time free agent priority" for the team, according to Wolfson.
- Wolfson passes along a recent quote from Andrei Kirilenko, in which Kirilenko discusses his $10.22MM player option, adding that it sounds as if the veteran forward is seriously considering opting out. According to Wolfson, the Wolves would like to bring back the Russian, but aren't in love with the idea of paying him $10MM+.
- Restricted free-agent-to-be Nikola Pekovic will meet with Saunders in Italy this weekend.
- The team option the Wolves hold on Dante Cunningham is essentially a lock to be exercised, says Wolfson.
- As I noted in Hoops Rumors' timeline of contract guarantee dates, Greg Stiemsma's and Mickael Gelabale's deals for next season don't become guaranteed until July 17th and July 22nd, respectively. Wolfson points out that both players could be useful trade chips in the next few weeks, since their deals are essentially set to expire in July.
May 11 at 11:04pm CST By Chuck Myron
After three games in both Eastern Conference Semifinals, the pair of Central Division representatives are in opposite positions. The Pacers are up 2-1, with a chance to push the Knicks to the edge with a win in Game Four at Indiana. The Bulls find themselves at the wrong end of a 2-1 series score against the Heat, with a virtual must win Monday night in Chicago. Here's more on the Bulls and a division rival that would probably welcome even an 0-3 playoff deficit these days:
Luke Adams contributed to this post.
May 10 at 1:07pm CST By Luke Adams
As we noted this morning, reports out of Minnesota are suggesting O.J. Mayo will be a top target for the Timberwolves in free agency this summer. Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com explores that story from the Mavericks' perspective, wondering how the Wolves' interest in Mayo could affect Dallas. As MacMahon notes, the Mavs would like to re-sign Mayo, but are unlikely to engage in any bidding wars for him. MacMahon suggests that if the Wolves prioritize Mayo over Nikola Pekovic, it could open up the door for the Mavs to make a run at Pekovic. Here's more out of Dallas:
- Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson made an appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas this week, and addressed a number of topics of note, and the Dallas Morning News transcribed some of Nelson's more interesting quotes in a pair of articles.
- Asked about the selling points the Mavs will use in talking to free agents this summer, Nelson pointed to Dallas' warm weather, the absence of state taxes, and the presence of an elite owner (Mark Cuban) and head coach (Rick Carlisle).
- If the Mavericks had to choose between acquiring an elite point guard and an elite center, Nelson suggests the team would lean toward the point guard. "I don’t think there is any question if you look at some of the
challenges we had last year, point guards are very unique, and it’s
really hard to find those guys," Nelson said. "That’s why we pulled out all the stops
to try to get Deron Williams to come back home. Obviously, he opted to
stay in New York. I don’t think there is any position as important as
point guard regardless of what level you’re playing on."
May 10 at 8:49am CST By Luke Adams
With Flip Saunders assuming control of the Timberwolves' basketball operations, the team's coming offseason figures to play out a little differently than past summers under GM David Kahn. Nonetheless, it sounds as if Saunders will be targeting at least one player that Kahn pursued in the past. Dan Barreiro of KFAN in Minneapolis tweets that he expects the T-Wolves to "go hard" after O.J. Mayo this summer.
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities follows up on Barreiro's tweet, confirming his report and noting (via Twitter) that he has heard from multiple people that Saunders likes Mayo. Wolfson adds (via Twitter) that the Wolves figure to have plenty of other players on their wish list and that creating the necessary cap space for the free agent guard may be tricky, but that Mayo has been cited by multiple sources as a likely target for Minnesota.
Assuming Brandon Roy's and Greg Stiemsma's contracts for 2013/14 are fully non-guaranteed, the Wolves only have about $36MM in guaranteed salary on their books for next season. That would seem to give them plenty of room to make a run at Mayo, who I predicted would earn more than the mid-level. However, that total doesn't include Andrei Kirilenko's $10.22MM player option, and it also assumes the team won't bring back restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic. If Kirilenko opts in and Pekovic returns on a $10-12MM salary, the Wolves won't have much room left to make Mayo a lucrative offer.
A sign-and-trade deal with the Mavericks is also a possibility if Minnesota doesn't have the necessary cap space to sign Mayo outright. But taking on salary in a Mayo trade could compromise Dallas' other plans in free agency, so I'd expect the Mavs to be reluctant to work out a Mayo deal unless they were presented an offer they couldn't refuse.
It's also worth mentioning that, since Mayo has a $4.2MM player option for next season, he could still decide to exercise that option before June 30th, avoiding free agency. The 25-year-old is considered extremely likely to opt out and become a free agent though.
April 25 at 10:58pm CST By Ryan Raroque
The Dallas Morning News
relayed some quotes from Mavericks
beat writer Eddie Sefko today, from his appearance on 1310 AM The Ticket. Regarding O.J. Mayo
, Sefko doesn't think that the Mavs will make an offer "too far north of the mid-level exception" and estimates a reasonable offer to be close to around a four-year deal at around $30MM. He also thinks that Mayo's starting offers will be for the mid-level exception. As for Brandan Wright
, Sefko believes that retaining the 6'9 big man as a reserve in addition to finding a starting center would help shore up their rotation at the five spot. Here are a few more miscellaneous notes out of the Western Conference tonight:
- Fresh off of his 16-point, 12-rebound, and six assists performance against Oklahoma City, Rockets guard Patrick Beverley isn't fazed at all by the playoff atmosphere, crediting the hostile environment from his experiences in Europe for his ability to handle the pressure now (Jonathan Feigen of Ultimate Rockets writes): “It’s different here. You have cities versus cities, states versus states. There, it’s countries against countries. I’ve played in games and got hit in the face with quarters, played with my face bleeding. I’ve played in hostile environments a lot. The first round of the playoffs I can deal with.”
- Max Ogden of Sheridan Hoops gives an update on Kostas Papanikolaou, the 48th selection of last year's NBA draft by the Knicks whose draft rights were later traded to the Trail Blazers. The 22-year-old forward has continued his progression for the defending Euroleague champion Olympiacos.
- NBA commissioner David Stern commended the Rockets for how they handled Royce White's situation, saying "we'll see what happens" with regard to White's future (Reid Laymance of Ultimate Rockets).
- This NBA.com article focuses on Andre Miller, who at age 37 is leading the third-seeded Nuggets in his quest to get out of the first round for the first time in nine playoff appearances.
April 24 at 11:04pm CST By Chuck Myron
Patrick Beverley was a surprise starter for the Rockets tonight, and his performance was even more astounding, as he racked up 16 points, 12 rebounds and six assists to help Houston come within three points of beating the top-seeded Thunder at home. Beverley was playing in Russia at the beginning of the season, and didn't make his NBA debut until he completed a week-long stint in the D-League after the Rockets signed him in January. His play tonight underscores the importance of seemingly under-the-radar transactions. As always, we'll keep track of NBA moves both great and small, and here's the latest:
- The Jazz may make a strong push to sign O.J. Mayo this summer, HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler hears (Twitter link). Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors wrote in March that Mayo could command better than the full mid-level, though that was before the shooting guard's April slump.
- Last week Chad Ford of ESPN.com heard University of Miami sophomore Shane Larkin was leaning toward entering the draft, but Larkin tweets that his decision is still up in the air, and that he'll make an announcement Sunday evening.
- Darren Collison probably won't return to the Mavericks unless he accepts a backup role, writes Tim McMahon of ESPN.com, who nonetheless believes Collison should be a well-paid backup, projecting that he'll sign a four-year, $15MM deal.
- There are plenty of philosophical differences between Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo and coach Dwane Casey, but ownership wouldn't look kindly upon Colangelo if he fired his third coach in less than five years, observes Eric Koreen of the National Post.
- Michael Jordan has hired four coaches, but none of them have lasted as long as three seasons, leading Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer to wonder if Jordan and the Bobcats front office are more deserving of blame than former coach Mike Dunlap.
April 18 at 10:05pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Headed for free agency this summer, Mavericks
point guard Darren Collison told reporters that he’s capable of starting on any
team. Despite finishing the final 23 games of the season as a reserve, the
former UCLA product hasn’t ruled out a return to the Mavericks, even if it
means he’d continue that role (Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram reports). Also, as Jon Machota of SportsDayDFW notes, Collison hasn't had any discussions with his agent about where he could end up next season. Here are a few more links to share out of Dallas:
- Price also hears that Elton Brand would like to return to Dallas next season in order to make up for being unable to help the team make the playoffs this season. Picked up off of amnesty before the start of the season, the former number one overall pick averaged 7.2 PPG and 6.0 RPG, marking the first year in his career with his scoring average in the single-figures.
- Count head coach Rick Carlisle among the proponents of bringing O.J. Mayo back in a Mavs uniform next season, writes Price. This morning, we heard that the 25-year-old swingman plans to opt out of his contract in hopes of negotiating a long-term deal with Dallas.
April 18 at 11:58am CST By Luke Adams
O.J. Mayo will not pick up his player option for next season, opting instead to hit free agency, according to Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com (Twitter link). Sneed adds that Mayo is hoping to sign a long-term deal with the Mavericks.
Mayo, 25, would make $4.2MM in the last season of his two-year contract with Dallas if he were to exercise his option. Instead, he figures to receive a raise, and should land a multiyear guarantee as well.
When I examined Mayo's free agent stock last month, I wrote that I expected him to easily exceed the mid-level deals signed by players like Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford, and Louis Williams in 2012. However, his stock may have taken a bit of a hit since then. April was his worst month with the Mavs, as he averaged only 8.6 PPG on 38.5% shooting, both well below his full-season marks (15.3 PPG, 44.9% shooting). He also drew the ire of coach Rick Carlisle, who had some harsh criticism for Mayo after a loss this week.
According to Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (via Sulia), there's a noticeable divide in the perception around the league on how much Mayo could earn in free agency. Bucher writes that some GMs don't think he'll earn much more than the $4MM he made this season, while others think he could make up to $10-12MM annually.
April 17 at 11:24pm CST By Chuck Myron
Blazers owner Paul Allen spoke to reporters this evening about the offseason for his team, which begins tomorrow, and it seems one decision will have to be made fairly quickly. Jared Jeffries is under contract for the next two seasons, but neither is guaranteed. Next season would become guaranteed if he's not waived by the fifth day following Portland's final game this season, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports. Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com believes it's likely that Jeffries won't be back, judging by the 31-year-old's lack of playing time this season, so it appears the Blazers could be cutting him loose soon. Jeffries wants to remain in the NBA next season, however, and tells Haynes that he'll be looking for more playing time wherever he winds up.
As we wait to learn the fate of Jeffries and others as the offseason begins for nearly half the league, there's plenty more NBA news:
- Sam Amick of USA Today examines which coaches are most likely to be out of work soon, placing Mike Dunlap among those in the greatest danger of losing their jobs, along with Keith Smart, Byron Scott and Lawrence Frank. He also suggests that if Rick Adelman returns to the Wolves, GM David Kahn will as well, but if the coach isn't back, Kahn may be on the outs, too.
- Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo insists to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun that he never tried to fire coach Dwane Casey this season, as Simmons had previously reported.
- Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, speaking with the team's broadcasters during tonight's game, said retaining unrestricted free agent Martell Webster will be key, confirming a pair of recent reports. CSNWashington.com has the video, in which Leonsis also expresses a desire to keep John Wall long-term.
- Executives around the league who spoke to Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game are widely split on how much O.J. Mayo could command if he turns down his $4.2MM option for next season. Some figure he can't expect much of a raise, and others believe he could easily make $10MM-$12MM (Sulia link).
- Point guard Josiah Turner, who played professionally in Canada this year after leaving the University of Arizona, will enter the draft, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Neither DraftExpress nor ESPN.com rate Turner as a top 100 prospect.
April 17 at 4:47pm CST By Luke Adams
As we look forward to the last night of the NBA's 2012/13 regular season, let's round up a few items out of the Southwest Division....
- Although the Hornets will finish as one of the bottom three teams in the Western Conference, coach Monty Williams is encouraged by the strides some of his players made this season. "There are a lot of positives," Williams told John Reid of the Times-Picayune. "We firmly believe that guys who come here have a great chance to improve their game because of our program and the things we do. I think it’s just going to get better as we add experience and start to bring in more talent in the next few years."
- O.J. Mayo, who has a player option for 2013/14, says he'd like to return to the Mavericks next season, tweets Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. I'd still be surprised if Mayo exercises the option rather than exploring the market.
- Elton Brand also expressed a desire to return to the Mavs next season, though he said "we'll see what happens in the summer," as Price tweets.
- Writing for The Basketball Jones, Mark Deeks of ShamSports notes how unusual it is for established NBA players like Tracy McGrady to sign deals at the end of the regular season. For the Spurs, there may not be much potential reward, but there's no risk either, says Deeks.
- The Grizzlies inked a pair of free agents earlier today, adding Donte Greene and Willie Reed.