The Grizzlies are openly shopping Mayo and the price tag doesn't look to be very high.
Chip Crain, from ESPN Truehoop, claims "Memphis is looking to make the playoffs this season, and it is apparent from comments in the media by Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins that the team isn't content with its present bench situation. Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet are former high draft picks who are non-starters and who are owed more than $10 million in salary next season, cash that the Grizzlies may feel they need to use to re-sign Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph as well." (Crain).
Although it is all good and well that Management asserts its desire to be a playoff team, this organization has proven throughout the years that it is willing to sacrifice talent for financial purposes, especially with the lockout looming. Now I'm not saying that they would just give Mayo away but looking at their moves the last few years, which included signing Allen Iverson and drafting Xavier Henry in the 1st round this year, it is apparent they aren't crazy about Mayo.
Chip goes on to say, "If the Grizzlies do trade Mayo, it will likely be for players willing to come off the bench and produce consistently. Expiring contracts are likely to be involved as well. The team is not ready to concede a playoff run just yet but it is believed to be of higher importance that the Grizzlies free up financial room for the contracts of Gasol and Randolph. If the Grizzlies don't get expiring deals in trade then someone must come back to the team in trade with a legitimate 3-point shot and the ability to score in bunches."
In this scenario we would certainly have the right pieces to satisfy their wishes. Joel (expiring deal), Rudy--three point specialist ;)-- and one of our first round picks, would fit within the salary framework. (Trade Machine)
The question is would we want the former lottery picks and their two year contracts? Thabeet hasn't shown a remnant of consistent productivity while Mayo has struggled to score and defend in his uncertain role with the team this year. However, this is still a guy that averaged 18 points per game in his first two years while shooting 38 % from the 3 point line and defending his position well. I know some of us have developed an affinity for Wesley Matthews but it is clear that he is not ready to be a consistent offensive performer at the starting SG position for our team. Now I know that he has been much better in the starting lineup as opposed to coming off the bench, which was what the organization had original planned for him, but eventually, if and when Roy returns, he will be forced to cede his position regardless.
If we were to trade for the Grizzlies guard and center combination before the deadline, we would be gaining a 7"3 center to replace Joel, who has played like the undead since his return. Thabeet isn't Hakeem by any means, although they share a shallow similarity in the appearance of their first names, but he can still certainly take up space and block shots in the 10 minutes that Joel currently occupies in his negligible role. As for Oj Mayo , you get a guy who, as Chris Broussard reported today, " is looking to go to a winning situation." (Broussard). In addition, we get an athletic two guard who has historically shot the ball well from the perimeter, hit his freethrows and acted professionally--aside from his little boxing match with Tony Allen.
We could run him out there for the rest of the season, with no Roy impasses, and watch him help space the floor for Aldridge with his jumpshot in the halfcourt set and finish at the rim with his athleticism in transition. He is only 23 and has already experienced great success in his age 21 and 22 seasons. As for this year and beyond, we would at worst have an expiring contract in 2012 that we could deal after the lockout, same with Thabeet who would have to have his team option extended. Brandon Roy isn't going to be recovered from his surgeries until at least this time 2012, so a logjam at the the SG position wouldn't be a topic of debate for a long time, that is assuming that Roy comes back able to play. The trade would make us better in the near term, as OJ is most likely be an upgrade in our current starting lineup over Wesley with Mathews sliding into Rudy's, on the bench, creating another upgrade.
The whole Western conference playoff picture is much more accessible this year than last. The Lakers, even after the Cleveland Genocide, are not showing themselves to be as consistent as they were in the previous two title runs. This regression has swung the door open for everyone else. Portland has shown the ability to play competitive basketball with great teams and I think that Cho and Allen need to recognize that an addition at the deadline, especially one such limited risk as the one mentioned, would be a risk worth closely examining.