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OJ Mayo was willing to play for the Celtics

Rico Albarracin December 13, 2012 Celtics News 26 Comments

Celtics fans got a good look last night at O.J. Mayo’s talents (24 points, 10-19 FG, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and 9 TOs). That box score is something that we could have seen in a Celtics jersey.

It’s no secret that Mayo’s name has been linked to the Celtics over the past couple of seasons, mostly in trade talks and failed deals. This past April, Celtics analyst Donny Marshall claimed that it was Mayo‘s refusal to play for Boston that led to the collapse of a deal with the Grizzlies that would have shipped out Ray Allen and a draft pick.

“Mayo basically said, ‘I don’t care about banners,'” announced Marshall. Apparently he never said such a thing.

“It would’ve been an honor to play with KG [Kevin Garnett], [Paul] Pierce and [Rajon] Rondo,” said Mayo. “It would’ve been great to play with those guys and with [Celtics coach] Doc [Rivers].”

“I was pretty much set to come here and something fell through at the very last second,” said Mayo. “A couple of the guys wanted to keep Ray, and management wanted to make the trade.”

Obviously hindsight is 20/20. It’s clear to say now, with Allen leaving town to join the Miami Heat, that the deal should’ve been done, but not exactly at the time. Mayo was coming off the bench for the Memphis Grizzlies, averaging 12.9 points per game and not exactly having the best shooting season of his career. Boston was still in the title hunt and maybe they thought they shouldn’t risk breaking up the core with the possibility of a championship in sight.

With that said, the deal should’ve been done. At the time, would you rather have kept a 36 year-old shooter with ankle issues or have a 24 year-old shooting guard who has the capabilities of scoring, as shown by his first two seasons in the league when he averaged 18 points a game over that span? Give me the younger guy. Honing his offensive skills under the guidance of Pierce, working on defensive strategy with Garnett and catching no-look passes from Rondo would have been a treat.

Let’s not even get into the fact that Dallas got Mayo for $4 million over the off-season, while the Celtics are on the hook for Jason Terry and Courtney Lee for a combined $10 million. Getting a guy who can create for himself would ease the burden on Rondo in the offensive and gives him a running mate for the possible future.

Some people will say that he’s a great talent but doesn’t work hard enough. Maybe that has been the case in the past, but not this year. Just see what Terry had to say about Mayo.

“[Mayo's] work ethic has definitely changed,” Terry said. “If you hear coming out of their locker room what he’s done differently, he’s brought better work habits. He’s been there at night, and he’s coming early before the games, so I think that’s carrying over for him. He’s always been a great talent, but there’s been questions about his work ethic. Obviously, this year he’s put the work in, and it’s starting to show.”

Did the Celtics make the right move when they decided to hold the Mayo?

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  • Mr. Curet

    I think it’s the right situation for Mayo, with the emergence of Bradley he probably would’ve come from the bench & I’m sure he wasn’t gonna like that. That’s one of the reasons why he left Memphis. Besides, for some reason Doc likes to play his veterans a lot of minutes anyway. Look at Lee, it seems like his minutes have gone down while Terry logs 30 + mpg, Doc says Lee’s improving but how is gonna keep getting better sitting on the bench? Look at Barbosa too, he hasn’t been playing lately.

    • eddysamson

      Barbosa has been sick but I guess I thought he’d be over it by the game last night.

      • LA Flake

        Barbosa isn’t sick. Doc has, rightfully IMO, shortened his guard rotation is all. I think Barbosa will play eventually but we’ll have a huge logjam at the 2 spot once AB returns and that needs to be addressed.

        As for Mayo, I stressed over the summer that the C’s should go after him instead of Lee but Lee’s not a bad consolation prize given his shooting touch and all around hustle every night. But still, Mayo is an All Star caliber player and Lee and Terry are not. So, that kind of hurts.

    • JG

      If Doc Rivers played Avery Bradley more than a more proven up and comer in OJ Mayo on the basis of 20 games of pretty good play of Bradley he should be stripped of his NBA title. I’m obviously exaggerating but you get the point. That would be ABSURD. Mayo is better than Bradley. Let’s not be ridiculous. And Bradley will almost definitely never reach his level offensively. Mayo is still young, too.

      • LA Flake

        OJ and AB are completely different players. While OJ is smooth, kinda like Joe Johnson, Avery is FIERCE. OJ has handles the ball and shoots better, but he can’t touch AB’s speed and definitely doesn’t defend like AB.

        OJ is a better player than AB right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if AB develops into an elite guard. Just needs to stay healthy.

        • KGino

          I’d take Avery over Mayo at this point.. Avery is an ELITE defender.. Mayo is elite at nothing. We have enough guys who can put the ball in the hoop. People are just so enamored by offensive stats only.. well I’m enamored by Avery Bradley’s D!!

  • MJ

    Well, we found another reason to hate the living hell out of Ray Allen. KG stuck his neck out for him not to get traded and he spurned him anyway that very summer.

    You’re a fucking prick Ray Allen. I appreciate what you did here but you stayed a Celtic because the guys wanted you here, and you turned your back on them. Enjoy riding Lebron’s coattails.

    • SL

      Sorry I don’t see it that way. Mayo said management didn’t want Ray. Why would he want to stay with an organization that doesn’t want you. Its like staying in a relationship because you have kids but your spouse doesn’t want u their. I don’t blame KG for being upset but don’t blame Ray for leaving either.

      • forever_green

        C’s did want Ray in the end, they offered two years with no trade clause. That’s on Ray for not staying.

        • S.L.

          I’m sorry but I believe the organization didn’t “want” him back but would “take” him back. Big difference. They were getting Ray for free…with bird rights basically. But I don’t think they really went after Ray. Danny made it look that way by saying publicly “we want him back in the worst way” but when have you EVER heard Danny say something like that about a player…EVER. They could have given him the same contract(term wise) as KG, 2 years with a player option but they didn’t. They offered every other player at least 3 years. If they wanted him that badly, they could have gotten him back. Basically, he was a bonus to them not a necessity. Ray knew that and I believe that is why he went to Miami. Miami needed him, wanted him and showed him that..SO he went to Miami!

      • LA Flake

        No shit. Some folks are so irrational it’s scary. I hate seeing Ray in that hideous Heat uniform and I’m ready to boo his ass but that doesn’t change the fact that Ray’s departure was due to 1) being a trade bait every year while he was here and being (almost) dealt 2 years in a row, 2) Rondo stabbing Ray in the back by going to Doc and telling him to start AB over him and 3) the C’s going out and getting JET way before they reached out to Ray.

        If a company you are working for treated you that way, no one would blame you if you quit. So why is Ray Allen’s case any different?

        • Anonymous

          how is that stabbing in the back, Rondo telling Doc that AB should start? Isn’t that just plain fuccin common sense, a player is a liability to the team starting, get rid of him for a player who’s not. You sir like Ray has a sensitive ego, do you massage it, soothe it, pamper it from time to time as well? smfh

          • LA Flake

            You just don’t go to the coach behind your teammate’s back. Not when the said teammate is a first ballot HOFer who contributed more to the team’s success than you did for five years.

            I’d write more but your mama’s stroking my ego so I gotta go.

        • S.L.

          Exactly!

    • Anonymous

      IMO Ray leaving was the best thing that happened for the team, he was a liabiltiy off court (locker rm) and on court as a starter cos those starters would get the best outta him defensively n offensively. Honesttly he only looks better in Heat now because he’s more experienced than most bench players in the league. Trust me, when he plays against teams like OKC, Knicks, BK, and even Boston (after they have completely gelled and have more chemistry) and other teams with better than average benches, you wouldn’t even notice him. I mean he won’t make a significan difference in the game. Good riddance I say

      • JG

        I mean this just isn’t true. The evidence suggests they are not playing as well without him on the team. Granted you did say in your opinion, which you’re entitled to. But I just don’t like saying they are better off without him when so far the evidence suggests otherwise. They aren’t playing very well. Use all of the excuses about new guys, but SO FAR I don’t see how you can claim that. They are a noticeably worse outside shooting team and don’t have a consistent, reliable knock down 3 point shooter to break games open with and down the stretch. I thought Terry would be that but to be honest I think I was overrating him as a consistent shooter off the catch.

    • Anonymous

      Oh and when AB fully recovers, everyone is gonna be like Ray who, Ray what? who dat?

  • Oj Mayo

    So if he was ok with coming to Boston why didn’t he sign in the offseason? From what I understand, Danny still was targeting him and wanted to sign him.

    • dk

      There’s too much back and forth on this issue today alone. This story says Mayo was willing to come but that the C’s couldnt get their act together, but then in the dump the Globe story says Mayo had not even hear about the trade:

      When asked if he thought he was coming to Boston, Mayo said, “No, not at all. I didn’t get any wind of it. My agent didn’t talk to me about it. So, no.”

      Mayo said he hasn’t considered whether he would opt out of his contract….

      http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/2012/12/13/mayo-says-talked-with-celtics-over-the-summer-about-signing-with-them/s51hGA9p2DPfY4Unr91ESM/story.html

    • LA Flake

      IIRC, the C’s were interested in Lee and Mayo but their first choice was Lee because Doc liked him more and they talked in Orlando about joining forces.

      • Anonymous

        hth can Doc like Lee more than Mayo? Lee ain’t even on Mayo’s lvl, you are quite unintelligent

        • S.L.

          Mayo was garbage last season compared to this season! He was coming off the bench and only scoring 12 points a game. So what he said is NOT that far fetched!

    • Nate

      What I read in July was that Mayo turned down the C’s offer because it wasn’t enough money. Then he signed for even less in Dallas. Whole situation is confusing to me

  • Astarot

    Well wasn’t sure about the move for Ray during the season, don’t think that’d be good for the team back then but in the offseason he was my first choice. I’d take him over Lee cuz’ Cs needed the scorer to step into Allen’s role. Knowing now that Mavs got him for 4M, devastating. Ainge should work to get both Lee (defender minded) and Mayo (scoring minded) SG’s. I like Terry and his skills but Lee and Mayo they’re both younger and better choices in the long – term perspective.

  • KGino

    Fuck Ray, fuck Mayo, and fuck David West. They can all suck it.

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