For the last two seasons the Memphis Grizzlies have been plagued with a problem most GMs and owners would cannibalize each other to have: an allstar talent that you don’t have room for and don’t know what to do with. It wasn’t too long ago that OJ Mayo was primed to become a new elite scorer in the league, coming into his third year and ready to take his scoring average well into the twenties. Let’s put it this way: Monta Ellis jacks up almost 22 shots a game and averages 24 points. With that sort of volume, OJ Mayo might have challenged for the league scoring title. And yet here we are today, when most would call it absurd to suggest that Mayo is just as good/valuable of a player as Ellis. The Grizzlies have all but obliterated their one time most valuable asset. They had their chance to get a return on what Mayo was really worth, but never pulled the trigger. Even coming close with Indiana, it would seem they weren’t motivated enough to get a deal done before the deadline.
To stop and put this in perspective, we will remind you that Memphis traded Kevin Love for Mayo’s draft rights. KEVIN LOVE! And now over the course of a year and a half, the Grizzlies have managed to tarnish Mayo’s value so badly that the best they could hope for in return would be a formidable bench player: a Taj Gibson, or–dare we blaspheme–Tony Allen type player. Where once the names Monta Ellis and OJ Mayo would have been interchangeable, the Grizzlies can now only draw a “hustle” player at best. A hustle player in exchange for what they got trading Kevin Love. Epic fail.
And it’s doubtful they’ll even achieve that. Mayo has one year left on his contract, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Grizz management continue to look the other way, letting him rot his final season out. Ergo, there will come a day soon when a team will snag Mayo for 2 or 3 mill–bona fide grand theft–and we will see a Mayo resurgence, leaving the Memphis Grizzlies with nothing in return, and their brass shamed for never bothering to protect the value of one of their most prized assets.