O J Mayo wants to get paid like a starting player in the NBA. He also wants the opportunity to play PG. He says he wants to stay in Memphis and finish what he started.
Is there any way possible that all of these things can happen? NO.
However, if we take Mayo at his word, there is a way to get two out of three and to make the Grizzlies fans happy.
O J Mayo is not ready to take over a starting role as point guard of a team. We saw all season, but especially in the playoffs, how much Mayo needs to work on his ball control, passing and leadership role before being a true point guard in the league. Mayo is capable of taking the ball and creating for himself but involving others doesn’t come as naturally for him.
That isn’t the problem. Mayo has the work ethic required to succeed and the basic skills required to be a successful PG in the league. What he will need is a team that will be patient enough to let him work out the kinks and a coach knowledgeable enough to help him with the rough patches.
He also will need to accept a smaller contract than his agents likely expect. That is the problem. Mayo is set to receive a contract greater than the Mid-Level Exception this summer but that is based on his success as a shooting guard. I am not sure he will attract as large a contract if he refuses to play any position but PG.
If Mayo is willing to accept less money for the opportunity to play PG only I believe Memphis is an ideal location for him. The team has a need at backup PG. The team has a former PG coaching the team and another former PG on the coaching staff. More importantly, Mayo will be able to sign a shorter contract with better terms in Memphis than elsewhere. It would likely take the team making a commitment to Mayo where he only plays backup PG. That means promising him that they will not use him as a SG in any situation not dictated by foul trouble or match-ups.
Would Hollins be willing to give up playing Mayo at SG? Would Mayo trust the Grizzlies? Does Mayo believe he is going to be paid more than the MLE to learn the PG position?
All of these are good questions but if people are wondering how the Grizzlies can keep Mayo then take him at his word and make him this offer and make it public so they can be held accountable.
All Mayo could say is no after all. It’s not like they would lose anything by trying.