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All-Star Weekend has come and gone, which means that the trade winds that constantly swirl around the NBA are beginning to grow in intensity as the trade deadline draws ever closer. March 15 is only two weeks away, after all.

While the rumor mill is churning out names like Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Rajon Rondo, and Steve Nash, fans in Memphis want to know what the Grizzlies are likely to do. And I think we all know that it won’t have much to do with those big names, unless it is to act as a facilitator.

The big name for Grizz fans is, of course, Ovinton J’Anthony Mayo. (That’s O.J. to you.) His name has been in trade rumors for the last two seasons, and was allegedly almost shipped out to the Pacers — not once, but twice. So, will Mayo still be on the team come March 16?

Do you trade him, not expecting him to re-sign in the summer? Do you trade him simply to get another long-term piece that might fit in better? Do you keep him and re-sign him? All good questions — and I don’t have any better answers than anyone else at this time.

Here are my thoughts on Mayo: He’s a very talented player who has struggled to be consistent, still hasn’t fully accepted his role as a 6th man or as a shooting guard only, and because of all of that, I don’t know that the team can justify paying him more than $6-7 million per year for him to continue to play that role. A quick look at his game log tells the story. His minutes don’t vary nearly as much as his scoring output does — and he’s being paid to score.

I think that it is likely that Mayo will continue to be in Beale Street Blue for the remainder of the season. I don’t know if he’ll still be here next fall, but that’s the conundrum, isn’t it? However, what would be fair value for him if he is dealt and what should Memphis look to get in return for him? And what else are they willing to give up in addition to Mayo?

The needs of this team are well-known: 3-point shooting (which O.J. provides) and a capable backup PG (which he doesn’t). The untouchables (given that we aren’t talking about acquiring a bona fide superstar, we can use that term loosely here) are Gasol, Randolph, Gay, and Conley. The team won’t look to take on any big money, long-term deals unless it’s a player capable of being a good fit going forward. Small market teams don’t have the luxury of carrying bad contracts, after all.

So, who makes the best fit? Who will be looking to deal? Golden State is reportedly talking to anyone who will pick up the phone, but they don’t have much to offer the Grizzlies in terms of palatable contracts — and Chris Wallace would likely rather deal Mayo to the Eastern Conference anyways. The Pacers are willing to make a deal to improve their team, but don’t have anything other than George Hill to offer, which isn’t quite enough. I only see two real possibilities that make sense: Orlando and New Jersey. Coincidentally, these two teams are motivated to make moves for the same reason: Dwight Howard. One wants him, and the other wants to keep him, so they’re going to try and do something to affect that outcome.

A deal with the Magic would have to include J.J. Redick, since the long-range sniper would obviously fill a need. With two years remaining on his deal, the 27-year old’s contract isn’t a big issue. I’d like to see Chris Duhon’s steady, veteran hand come back in the deal, too. To make the numbers work, I think that the Grizzlies would need to send Mayo, the somewhat forgotten Sam Young, and the currently injured (and soon-to-be free agent) Darrell Arthur. This trade works and would seem to solve the two issues the Grizzlies are currently dealing with. A comparison of Mayo and Redick on for those that want to claim one is far superior to the other.

A trade with the Nets is a little more iffy, but probably more likely, too. The Grizzlies could send the same three players to New Jersey for Anthony Morrow and Jordan Farmar, as well as a 2nd round pick (because I like for Chris Wallace to have draft picks to play with whenever possible). Morrow is a good perimeter shooting threat, and Farmar is a solid backup PG. Both players are under contract through the 2012-13 season. Their 2nd round pick should be early in the round as well, so that’s another bonus.

I’m sure plenty of people will balk at including DA in a deal as something of a “throw-in”, but he’s coming off an Achilles heel injury, which means that no one knows exactly how he will perform next season. For a player that relies on explosiveness and athleticism for so much, this is a legitimate concern. Given the choice between him and Speights this offseason, most GMs would choose Speights solely based on the issue of health. That’s how it works in the NBA.

Neither of the deals above are world-class, but both potentially fill holes that could help the Grizzlies moving forward. I wouldn’t have a problem with Chris Wallace pulling the trigger on either of them. Chime in with your own trade ideas in the comments section.

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16 Responses to Trade Winds

  1. TonyNo Gravatar says:

    I like both deals. While I, too, was a little iffy at first on throwing DA in there (mainly because of memories at how important he was for us last year), I fully believe the West is wide-open this year. The only dominant team is OKC, who we’ve proven to match up with when healthy. I know they’ve beat us 3 times this year, but once was Conley-less and twice was Z-Bo-less. It was just last year when we took them to 7 and the talk was “If only we had Rudy to close out these games …” Point being, the Grizz should try to make a run this year, DA won’t be a part of the team this year. Simple as that.

  2. EvanNo Gravatar says:

    I would hate to see Juice traded, but on the other hand I would love to see Redick/Duhon in Memphis.

  3. presidentjoeNo Gravatar says:

    Don’t like either one of those two deals. Selling oj way short of his true value. If traded get some potential not just filler. MN has possible trade value.

    • Chip CrainNo Gravatar says:

      What do you consider “True Value?” Does any team get “true value” for players on expiring contracts who want out of the city they currently play in?

      The real question is whether or not it is better to get some value for Mayo or let him walk just to free the salary. I don’t know the answer to that question until I know what the Grizzlies were offered for Mayo. A bad deal I’d rather let him walk.

  4. CarloJ63No Gravatar says:

    I like the New Jersey Trade better. I have always thought Farmar was a good PG. The Orlando one isn’t bad either…..the prospect of Reddick getting hot and nailing 3’s is intriguing; not to mention a steady PG in Duhon.

    We could also let them both know that we can “facilitate” a trade between them, where we get something back and maybe shed a little money as well.

    I’m sure either team would be happy to get OJ as part of the package.

  5. Jeremy CooperNo Gravatar says:

    Am I missing something? O.J. Mayo is a slightly better player than JJ Redick, if you look at their stats, younger, and with a whole lot more potential. Duhon and Young are interchangeable talent-wise. Why would the Grizz do a deal giving arguably the best backup 4 in the league!?

  6. TronNo Gravatar says:

    Man can’t wait to see oj play for a team that actually values him. Mark my words oj will become an all-star player on another team. How soon you guys forget how good he was those first two season as a starter. Ir he goes to chicago they will host the trophy. Would also love Minnesota so he could come back to haunt you guys.

  7. btrautscNo Gravatar says:

    I love trade speculation, and in this tumultuous season of injuries – we have definitely experienced quite a bit of it.
    Of course, this is disappointing as we have such a strong core (even as Zbo sits out) and I have always thought OJ was a major long term piece.
    However, financially OJ’s next contract may be too rich for the Grizz, unless they get creative with payroll.

    As mentioned, I think a more likely scenario than an outright trade will be the Grizz stepping in and facilitating a move for a big name, ie Dwight Howard.

    To play along with that reasoning, if we look at potential 3rd party candidates (NJ, Houston, Dallas, LAL come to mind). NJ may be out, because I find it unlikely Orlando wants to give Howard to a conference competitor.

    Let’s use Houston, as a team with lots of young assets, and a few heavy contracts. Houston definitely covets Dwight, has a stable PG, and a slew of PFs.

    Memphis gets – C. Lee, C. Parsons, G. Dragic
    Houston gets – D. Howard, OJ Mayo, D. Arthur (sadly)
    Orlando gets – K Martin, Louis Scola, Sam Young

    This benefits each teams goals, but specifically for Memphis – the gain is Lee’s option next year is roughly 3.2 M – (4 less than OJ) for similar production. Chandler Parsons is a very promising, very cheap stretch 4 which the Grizz covet to help spread the floor and increase tempo (situationally), and Dragic solves the PG dilemma short term. He would be an UFA next year, but with OJ’s cap space, he could potentially be resigned.

    Houston gets a Howard, Lowry, Mayo, Patterson combo

    Orlando gets Martin as a primary scorer, with Scola and Andersen in the post, as well as keeping Nelson and Turkoglu. They would likely get a 1st round pick as well.

    Memphis doesn’t receive any “superstars” but what the team needs is to strengthen the bench, and fill in holes on the roster with solid, unselfish players.

    IF we trade OJ.

  8. GrizzliesDieHardNo Gravatar says:

    Everytime I send a proposed trade my Grizz colleagues they all balk at the idea of trading Juice for these scrubs. Obviously, Red Coleman’s seems to think that O.J.’s up-and-down down play is just something that comes along with him. However, I think O.J. would have several 30 point games under his belt this season if he wouldn’t be pulled out of the game everytime he gets hot. Lionel Hollins has O.J. on a timer and whenever that timer goes off he’s coming out. He started out red hot during the first quarter against Philly helping to spur an early 30-10 Grizz lead at the end of the 1st quarter. He was pulled and didn’t return until the 2 min mark of that quarter.

    In addition, Mike Conley and Jeremy Pargo have a tendency to freeze Mayo out in transition. Juice said it best during a recent interview with NBATV. “We’re at our best when the ball is moving from side to side and guys are attacking rather than looking to slow down and isolate mismatches.”

    The Grizz are their best when Juice is getting touches early and often in the offense. The Grizz need to ship Arthur and Young for a few picks to get under the luxury tax and keep O.J. If they wouldn’t have traded Vasquez the only weakness would be at backup center.

    Keep the Juice in Memphis!!!!

  9. Chris FaulknerNo Gravatar says:

    I really hope the Grizz keep OJ. He’s still young and talented enough to become another superstar for the Grizzlies.

    And I think everyone gets a little better when Zbo comes back.

  10. TonyNo Gravatar says:

    This whole “remember how good OJ was his first two seasons” argument that keeps getting rehashed on here is silly. That team was completely different. OJ was great because he got to use the ball more. That’s not in this team’s interest anymore. With the way Z-Bo and Marc gelled last year, the Grizz have a top-3 front-court in the league. The offense will go through them, and then through Rudy, and that’s just the way it is. I like Mayo, but stop comparing his production now with what his production was when they needed a high volume from him every night.

  11. presidentjoeNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with some others on here that OJ is a victim of circumstance on this team and when he does get traded to a team that truly values his play he will be starting and averaging close to 20 a game again. I think it will be a mistake to trade him just for perceived need and not go after the best available talent you can get. Problem is that the Grizz will have to find someone equally as undervalued to Mayo in order to make a good trade since Mayo’s trade value has been reduced since he was sent to the bench in favor of Conley. Here is my attempted trade: Mayo and Arthur for Beasely and JJ Berea.

  12. Lee Eric SmithNo Gravatar says:

    The main factor all these trade scenarios seem to forget is this: Mike Heisley doesn’t make a decision before he has to. And O.J. Mayo will be a RESTRICTED free agent this offseason.

    Meaning, IF he gets meaty offers, the Grizz will have the option to match.

    Meaning, he DOESN’T just up and walk and we get nothing.

    Meaning, unless there is a CLEAR upgrade as a shooter/scorer off the bench, there’s no urgency to trade him.

    I’m betting that Juice plays out the rest of the season on Beale St. Depending on how the postseason goes, HeisWallHoll will make a choice on his role with the team.

    Juice will test the market, probably get some offers, but likely not big enough that the Grizz wouldn’t match. (Not saying they WILL match — if Juice walks in free agency, it’ll be for basketball reasons, not salary reasons)

    But here’s an NBA fact: There’s no shortage of SGs of comparable production. And in the new CBA, I just don’t see Juice commanding a prohibitive salary — unless he explodes in the playoffs and we get to at least Game 6 of the West Finals BECAUSE OF HIM.

    IF Juice is traded — BIG IF — I don’t think it’ll happen at all until summer or next season.

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