I was asked on a recent edition of "Talkin' Ball" about which free agents the Trail Blazers might think about chasing this summer.
One of my first thoughts was guard O.J. Mayo, who can score, defend a little and play either as a starter or off the bench. I thought he'd opt out of the final season of his contract in Dallas and be available at a reasonable price for the Trail Blazers.
But that was before I read this piece by Tim MacMahon about Mayo's struggles this season in Dallas, where he seems to be driving Coach Rick Carlisle crazy.
“I just want to see him show up,” said Carlisle, who was as harsh publicly with a player as he’s been since calling out Lamar Odom at the end of Mavs short-timer's strange midseason sabbatical. “I just want to see him show up and compete. He didn’t compete tonight.
“And I tell you, with all the time we’ve put into helping him develop and bringing him along, in the biggest game of the year -- an opportunity to be a winning team -- for him to show up like he did tonight, I was shocked.
"Look, sometimes guys have bad nights, so make sure to put that in there, too.”
Mayo has all the tools to be an outstanding scorer in the NBA but motivation does seem to be a problem. He frequently underperforms in big games and his effort is often questioned, particularly on defense. Carlisle, who I believe to be one of the best coaches in basketball, had a little trouble relating to Mayo's lack of effort after a recent game when he called a timeout just to remove Mayo from the floor:
“Look, he’s not the only guy that stunk tonight,” Carlisle said. “I stunk, too. I’ll readily admit that, and I’ve been admitting it all year. But I’m passionate about not wanting to stink.
“That’s where I have trouble reconciling things.”
This is not the type of player the Trail Blazers need to bring onto this team. No thanks. And I won't be recommending such things in the future.