NBA@2: O.J. Mayo Off The Market?
The Memphis Grizzlies were one of the more interesting and surprising stories of the 2010-11 NBA season. It took a Herculean effort (and a trade for Shane Battier) for them to make the playoffs even as team captain Rudy Gay sat on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, and then they did the improbable, knocking off the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
Even as the Grizzlies enjoyed their most prosperous season, there was a dark cloud lurking on the horizon. Starting center Marc Gasol was set to be a restricted free agent, and the notoriously frugal Grizzlies seemed unlikely to match any significant offer. The team again broke with their own tradition by matching the offer sheet Gasol signed with the Houston Rockets, and many believed that with Gasol back in the mix and Rudy Gay healthy the Grizzlies would be a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference.
Still, that pesky dark cloud just wouldn’t go away. Gasol was signed, sealed and delivered, but O.J. Mayo’s situation seemed to be the next one that might prematurely derail the team. The Grizzlies had nearly traded him once before, and they again set to work dealing him before the start of the 2011-12 season. Once again, however, they pulled out of the deal, and Mayo remained with the team.
In his first full season as the Grizzlies’ sixth-man, Mayo has been nothing short of fantastic. He’s had none of the off-the-court issues that have popped up in the past and he’s been a force for the Grizzlies’ second unit, clearly in the class of OKC’s James Harden and Dallas’ Jason Terry as one of the best sixth-men in the NBA. In fact, he’s been so good that the Grizzlies, who have shopped Mayo off and on for more than a year, may have decided to keep him and hope to be able to re-sign him next summer.
One league source tells HOOPSWORLD that the Grizzlies are no longer interested in trading Mayo, despite a number of offers from teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Indiana Pacers. The Grizzlies seem to have decided that Mayo is worth keeping around, and they will gamble that they can clear some space before free agency begins so they can match any offer for Mayo without going deep into luxury tax territory. Indeed, the Grizzlies have been active in trade talks, just not revolving around any of their primary players.
Slowly but surely the Grizzlies are climbing the Western Conference standings, and with Zach Randolph due back soon they could soon be on the heels of the conference-leading Oklahoma City Thunder. O.J. Mayo has been an important part of that success, and unless something changes as the last minute, he will continue to be a part of their success going forward.
Trade Rumors Wearing On Van Gundy
It’s got to be tough. NBA head coaches and teams spend so much time and energy preparing for games and all their fans seem to care about is trade rumors. Derrick Rose spoke out last week, saying he was tired of all the Dwight Howard trade talk, and now Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy has added his voice to that song.
“Look, people are tired of it,” Van Gundy said recently. “Enough. Even people on other teams [are tired of it]. Derrick Rose is tired of it. It’s enough. Look, on Thursday, he’ll either be here or he won’t. Then write about it. Enough.”
Good luck with that, Coach. Given that the Magic are increasingly unlikely to trade Dwight Howard at this week’s NBA trade deadline, it’s reasonable to assume that all we’re going to hear about from Orlando for the rest of the season is the latest rumor or lack of a rumor regarding Howard. And as long as NBA consumers continue to click like crazy and re-tweet every story with a hint of a Howard trade rumor in it, that will continue to be the case.
“(The deadline) won’t be closure,” Van Gundy added. “There’s closure, I guess, if he goes. If he stays, it just starts all over again. You just start the clock again. You’re right back where you started from the day the playoffs ended last year. That’s what everybody will be talking about: ‘OK, now what’s going to happen in the summer?’
Get ready, coach. That’s exactly how it’s going to play out . . .unless, of course, people stop asking the question.
But that’s never going to happen. Like a bad Hollywood plot that just keeps getting re-made, we’re going to be beaten to death with Dwight Howard trade rumors until he either commits to Orlando long-term or gets traded, at which point the rumors change cities and keep going.
Bucks Ready to Deal Jennings, Bogut?
This is why teams wait until just before the NBA trade deadline to make a move. You just never know what else might become available.
The news out of Milwaukee today is that the Bucks are now willing to entertain offers for both point guard Brandon Jennings and center Andrew Bogut. Bogut is injured – what else is new? – and won’t be able to play for probably another month, but in a league so short on talented centers he is still drawing interest from teams looking for a way to land a starting center.
The more interesting name is that of Jennings, a point guard who was thought to be the Bucks’ franchise player going forward. Jennings’ talk about leaving Milwaukee last month has the front office re-thinking their strategy regarding Jennings, as they would prefer to trade him now that have that trade talk become the predominant story surrounding their team for the foreseeable future. He told ESPN he was “doing my homework on big-market teams,” which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence from the Bucks.
Sports Illustrated‘s Sam Amick reports that Jennings can be had “for the right price,” which doesn’t mean they’re trying to get rid of him, rather the Bucks are putting the word out that they’re open for business.
The Bucks would also move Drew Gooden, though that seems a bit less likely.
Count the Milwaukee Bucks amongst the teams who are hoping to get something done over the next two days.
Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to insure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @jfleminghoops, @TheRocketGuy, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @alexraskinNYC, @SusanBible, @DPageHoopsWorld , @stephenlitel , @stevesraptors, @TommyBeer and @YannisHW.
NBA Chats: There are three NBA Chats scheduled for today starting with Yours Truly at 11am. HOOPSWORLD’s Stephen Brotherston returns to hold down his weekly chat at 3pm EST. While HOOPSWORLD editor Jason Fleming rounds out the day with his weekly NBA chat at 8pm EST. You can always find the next NBA Chat here: http://www.hoopsworld.com/upcoming-chats and if you are looking for Previous Chats try here: http://www.hoopsworld.com/previous-chats.