Dallas Mavericks: Is O.J. Mayo Worth A Long-Term Extension?


O.J. Mayo has had flashes of greatness in his first year with the Dallas Mavericks. (Flickr.com photo by Scott Mecum)

We have already decided that

O.J. Mayo

is not a top 10 shooting guard in today’s NBA,but that doesn’t mean that he should be playing overseas. Mayo made a decision immediately after speaking with Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson, 24 hours after ending the season, that he would end his short Mavericks career, exercising his player option to bounce. He hopes to get a long-term deal, instead of $4.2 million for one year in Dallas. Is it the right move?

As a Mavericks fan, or as Cuban likes to call us, MFFL’s, the Mayo conundrum is a complicated matter at best. We cursed his six-point performance in the biggest game of the season against the lowly Phoenix Suns to end the Mavericks’ playoff chances. We all but sent him to Siberia after he choked against his former team, the Memphis Grizzlies, with two points catching the cold words of coach

Rick Carlisle


As Carlisle said, “He didn’t show up tonight.”

“Tonight” is an understatement. His tirade over Mayo’s performance was a release of season-long frustration with the four-year pro. Don’t think Mayo can cause a coach to lose his cool, just ask Memphis coach Lionel Hollins. Hollins knew to get rid of Mayo before Mayo got him fired. If you’re the head coach of a NBA team, do you want O.J. Mayo long term?

Mayo as a teammate has his moments as well. He lost his starting job in Memphis because he missed practices, forgot to pass and fought Tony Allen on a charter flight over a game of cards. For an off-guard that needs the ball to be effective, he only averages 3.1 assists per game for his career. He averaged 4.4 dimes this season, a career best. If you’re a NBA player, do you want O.J. Mayo as a teammate long term?

With all the bad pub I just gave “Juice,” I can’t deny 15.3 points per game. When Dirk Nowitzki was out the first quarter of the season, it was the “Mayo Show.”  After his 40-point performance in the Toyota Center against the Houston Rockets, even I was campaigning for him to make his first All-Star team. You would be hard pressed to find another shooting guard hotter than him from Oct. 30 to Dec. 15.

Carlisle, even after blasting Mayo in the media, says he would welcome him back on his team long term.

“I like O.J. a lot,” Carlisle said. “I think he fits in to what we’re doing, but like everything else in this world, this is probably going to come down to money. Right now, I don’t know where all that stuff is going to stand. He had a very good year for us, so there’s going to be a lot of teams interested in him.”

This from a guy who is approaching the franchise’s most important offseason ever. That says a lot from a veteran coach like Carlisle.

Simply put, in today’s free agent market, with the marquee names penciled in to stay with their current teams, Mayo is worth a long-term extension. The caveat, however, is he will have to finally accept a sixth-man role until he can get some consistency for a full season.

Carlisle knows it will take work for any coaching staff to get long-term results.

“I spent more time with him than probably any player I’ve ever had …,” Carlisle said. “Look, we invested a lot in him in terms of time and things like that, so in a lot of those ways it’s a no-brainer to want to have him back.”

As a teammate, Mayo has improved and matured tremendously. He was a willing participate in the below-.500 beards. He always stopped to talk with fans after wins and losses. He answered all of our generic media questions without dodging anything.

Even 37-year-old veteran Mike James talked about forming a friendship with Mayo on and off the court. High praise from a guy that has been in more than the normal share of locker rooms.

There are enough teams, the Mavericks included, that need O.J. Mayo to justify a long-term deal. His potential and new attitude are worth it.