The “Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel” reported Saturday that the Milwaukee Bucks locked up free agent guard O.J. Mayo for the next three seasons. According to the paper’s sources, the deal will pay the 25-year-old guard $24 million over the life of the contract. The Bucks are looking at Mayo as one of the club’s cornerstones and hope to team him up with restricted free agent point guard Jeff Teague. The Bucks sent the Atlanta Hawks starter a qualifying offer for a reported four-year pact worth $32 million. Milwaukee is now waiting to see if the Hawks match the offer.
Mayo played for the Dallas Mavericks this past season and had a strong campaign, starting all 82 contests while averaging 15.3 points, 4.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. However, Dallas chose to go with former Bucks guard Monta Ellis, in a deal that was announced on Friday.
NBA observers have to wonder why the guard who completed his fifth season in the Association this spring, is not more highly valued by the teams he has played for. Mayo played his first four seasons for the Memphis Grizzlies and although he was a starter with the squad his first two-years, he played off the bench for the entire 2011-2012 campaign. Both Memphis and Dallas have “Old School” head coaches, with Rick Carlisle running the team on the court for the Mavericks while Lionel Hollins is the bench boss for the Grizzlies. Could Mayo have been too much of a “Free Spirit” for both men and if so how will he and new Bucks head coach Larry Drew get along?
It has been a long time since Milwaukee was one of the elite teams in the Association. They had the misfortune of having a roster loaded with talent; however, they could never get past the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics to make it to the NBA Finals during the decade. Since that period, the franchise has lacked consistency which they are trying to put in place with their offseason makeover.