But owner Mark Cuban and general manager Donn Nelson have bounced back beautifully, capping the off-season’s best comeback by signing unrestricted free agent O.J. Mayo to a multi-year contract.
Mayo, who averaged 15. 2 points the first four years of his career, all in Memphis, joins the dramatically reconstituted Mavericks. New to the club are Mayo, center Chis Kaman, forward Elton Brand, guard Dahntay Jones and point guard Darren Collison. They all were added in the last five days.
As is the custom these days, Mayo, 24, shared the news on Twitter, writing: “I will be signing with dallas! #Mavsnation.”
Not long after, Mavs owner Mark Cuban tweeted: “Welcome to the family OJ. We are fired up !! MFFL Mavs/Mayo Fan For Life !”
The 6-foot-4 Mayo, who was the third overall pick in the 2008 draft with the Grizzlies, came off the bench for Memphis the last two years, and his scoring average dipped about six points below his first two seasons in the league, in which he started all 164 games.
He averaged 12.6 points last season, shooting 40.8 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent from 3-point range. Mayo could become the Mavs’ starting shooting guard alongside Collison, Dallas’ new acquisition in a sign-and-trade with the Indiana Pacers or he could slip into reserve role played by Jason Terry, who signed with the Boston Celtics.
The exact terms of Mayo’s deal were not known, but it is a two-year deal with a player option in the second year. The Mavs had about $4 million in cap space remaining.
The Grizzlies, who entertained trading Mayo multiple times, including last season, did not make a $7.2 million qualifying offer to Mayo, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.
Mayo will become the Mavs’ 11th player under contract, along with three rookies. They still have interest in re-signing free agent guard Delonte West. In the 13 months since Dallas won the 2011 championship, the roster now includes just two key pieces from that team in Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion.