NBA Free Agency Rumors: Bucks near deal with O.J. Mayo

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Bucks are nearing a deal with free agent shooting guard O.J. Mayo.

If you were wondering whether the Bucks were going to sign anyone at all this summer, the answer is apparently yes.

After watching earlier targets Chase Budinger and Kevin Martin ink deals with the Timberwolves, the Bucks are reportedly close to signing former Mavericks and Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo to a multi-year deal. Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski said so this afternoon, and everyone knows that deals don't happen without Woj reporting them first.

The 6'4" Mayo would be the only real shooting guard on the roster at this point, and presumably the Bucks will be paying Mayo to be their starter when all is said and done. Whether he can live up to that expectation is unclear. While he's always put up points, hit threes and racked up solid assist numbers for a secondary guard, Mayo has consistently posted mediocre advanced metrics, including a PER generally close to but not ever exceeding league average (15.0), a relatively high turnover rate and negative on/off differentials. Stylistically, he's a proven commodity from behind the arc and can finish around the hoop (generally around 60%), but lacks the burst to get there (or the line) as much as you'd want. In short he's a mixed bag, which means paying him more than mid-level-ish dollars comes with plenty of risk. And let's be realistic: the Bucks most likely will be paying him much more than the mid-level. Unfortunately, the novelty of being close to his brother Todd at Marquette likely won't translate into a discount.

Mayo was a relatively high-scoring starter in his first two years (around 18 ppg both years) but has never really progressed from there. He was eventually demoted to a sixth man role in Memphis, losing his starting job to defensive standout (and fellow Bucks free agent target) Tony Allen as Memphis found its groove without him. The Grizzlies subsequently let Mayo walk last summer before Dallas scooped him up on a relatively modest two-year deal that included a $4.2 million second year player option that he not surprisingly declined.

In Dallas he re-emerged as a starter with the best basketball of his career before the all-star break (17.1 ppg, 4.3 apg, .463/.413/.856), but tailed off in the season's second half (10.9 ppg, 4.5 apg, .417/.392/..667). The biggest lowlight came in an April loss to his former club, after which coach Rick Carlisle unloaded on him to reporters about a perceived lack of effort and intensity. Mayo accepted the criticism and Carlisle later offered a bit more color to his tirade, but the episode underscored the good and the bad that comes with Mayo. He's talented, but leaves you wanting more.

As for how he fits into the Bucks' long-term plans...well, the obvious positives are that he can space the floor and he's not old (compelling, eh?). And his arrival should spare us from a huge offer for J.R. Smith (assuming rational thought is employed). But he's shown very little progression since entering the NBA, and so despite his relative youth it's unlikely that he blossoms into a whole lot more than he already is. Or moves the dial much one way or the other.

If you think he's going to derail the Bucks' from accidentally tanking...probably not. If you think he's a long term core piece...nope, he's not that either. Instead, he's a capable NBA starter, but not someone who will prevent you from looking for better options. And as is usually the case, his price tag and the expectations that come with it will go a long way to determining where this move falls on the "solid" to "stupid" scale.

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