According to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commerical-Appeal, O.J. Mayo wants to go to Turkey this summer and try out for a spot on the US World Championship team. The Grizzlies, of course, want him to do the responsible thing and spend his summer in Las Vegas in order to work on his point guard skills. From the article:
It is well-documented that second-year player O.J. Mayo is an undersized shooting guard at 6-4, so the Grizzlies coaching staff has invited the former USC standout to participate in summer league.
The goal is for Mayo to significantly improve his point guard skills. The Griz are looking to improve their versatility so Mayo’s ability to play point guard at times could lead to a bigger, more potent offensive lineup in doses.
Mayo’s shaky ball handling and poor decision-making have been major deficiencies throughout his first NBA two seasons.
Sending Mayo to Summer League and turning him into a true point seems like a nice idea. I do wonder if it would actually work out the way the Grizzlies think it will, though. It’s generally a lot harder for players to develop passing skills or change their style of play than is for them to add muscle or improve their outside shots; scoring guards expected to “develop into point guards” rarely do so.
Summer league also isn’t the best place to learn how to run an offense. The play is up-and-down, the guards take most of the shots, and all of Mayo’s teammates will be worse than he is. Mayo might be instructed to be a pass-first player, but summer league is the perfect environment for him to indulge his shoot-first tendencies; there’s a reason Nate Robinson’s one of the great summer league players of all time. The Grizzlies might be better served letting Mayo play for his country and spending some time around the best players in the world instead of hoping that Mayo will be able to make serious changes in his game while going against a bunch of rookies and D-Leaguers.
Zach LaVine was the centerpiece in the Bulls’ return for trading a star. Chicago was reportedly willing to match a max offer sheet for LaVine in restricted free agency.
But maybe the Bulls have at least somewhat soured on him.
Nick Friedell of ESPN:
I don’t know why the Bulls would be down on LaVine now. I also don’t know why they were so high on him the first place.
LaVine is a good 3-point shooter and impressive dunker. But, despite his athleticism, his all-around contributions are lacking. He also hasn’t looked completely over his February 2017 ACL tear.
This leak could just be strategy. Instead of trying to scare off teams with the threat of matching any offer to LaVine, Chicago could be trying to dissuade suitors by projecting its own reluctance.
The Bulls don’t want to overpay LaVine. But they also don’t want to lose him for nothing.
Will anyone make a hard push for the 23-year-old? He surely wants a lucrative long-term contract, whether he re-signs directly with Chicago or gets an offer sheet. But, if the Bulls aren’t sold on him, I’m not sure any team will is.
LaVine’s qualifying offer will be $4,333,932. That might wind up his next salary.
The Phoenix Suns got it right at the top of the draft — they took Deandre Ayton.
But what of their move to trade for Mikal Bridges, the No. 10 pick, surrendering a valuable pick and the potential of Zhaire Smith for what should be a solid “3&D” wing to go with their athletic stars?
How did the Kings do at No. 2? What about Dallas’ big trade up to land Luka Doncic at three, or the Atlanta bet on Trae Young?
In this PBT Extra, I grade the top 10 picks in the draft, from the moves I like (I think Dallas did well) to ones I’m not sold on (sorry Chicago).
Have questions leading up to free agency? Submit your questions via e-mail for our PBT Mailbag feature. Drop us a line at email@example.com.
LeBron James doesn’t want elaborate pitches in free agency.
Paul George never said that, though.
So, the Lakers are apparently planning to put some showbiz into their recruitment.
Robin Lundberg of Sports Illustrated, citing a “Hollywood source,” revealed a Lakers pitch for George. The direction:
Less Morgan Freeman/Denzel Washington, and more Jamie Foxx. A bit more edge an attitude to their voice, and a bit less aspirational
When you were just a kid
In your room
Dreaming from Palmdale
We were dreaming too.
While you dreamt, we built – built for your arrival
And while we dreamt, you built too
Becoming one of the world’s greatest.
Life’s most powerful dream are the one we realize ourselves.
The ones that turn us into legends.
That kid from Palmdale always knew it
Now the world will, too
Who wrote this, noted storyteller Kobe Bryant?
My bigger question: Did or did not the Lakers, who’ve gone to great lengths to make their interest in George known, want this to leak before the official start of free agency?
That rumor of tension between Chris Paul and the Rockets over his contract?
Sam Amick of USA Today:
As for the recent report from Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard that there are rising tensions between the two sides because Paul wants the full max and isn’t sure if he’ll get it, two people with knowledge of the situation refuted the idea there is any friction between the sides.
Remember, everyone who leaks something has an agenda. But I find this report far more credible than the initial rumor.
Paul’s max projects to be about $205 million over five years. That’s a lot to commit to a 33-year-old, but Paul took a discount to facilitate an opt-in-and-trade to Houston last year. He expects to be made whole.
Until Broussard’s report, all indications were the Rockets would appease him. Barring more information, that should remain the expectation.