The Minnesota Timberwolves have come close to having guard O.J. Mayo in their uniform twice before, once on draft day in 2008 when he was selected by the team before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in a deal that sent Kevin Love to Minnesota. Then they reportedly briefly targeted him during free agency last summer, but wound up signing Brandon Roy instead. Mayo ultimately signed with the Dallas Mavericks, but he has declined the second-year player option in his deal and will again become a free agent.
Mayo is coming off a solid season, as he averaged 15.3 points, 4.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game while playing and starting all 82 games for Dallas. Despite some late season trouble with coach Rick Carlisle he has expressed interest in signing a long-term deal with the Mavericks, but whoever offers the most money may be the team that secures his services this summer.
Should the Timberwolves be among the teams most interested in Mayo?
Perimeter shooting was a serious weakness for the Timberwolves during the just completed season, as they made a league-low 30.5 percent of their three-pointers. Shooting guard is a pressing need entering the draft and free agency this summer, with Luke Ridnour being miscast at the position for most of the season. Roy signed a two-year deal last summer, but the second year was not fully guaranteed and he may choose to retire after playing just five games this season.
Mayo got off to a fast start this season, averaging 20.6 points per game over the first 25 games of the season while making close to 52 percent of his three-pointers. But he averaged just 9.3 points per game over the final 21 games, with just one 20-point game in that span, with right thumb, left ankle and left shoulder issues serving to limit him. Leaving that slow finish aside, Mayo had a bounceback season and should still get plenty of interest on the free agent market.
Minnesota should at least have a passing interest in any available shooting guard this offseason, and Mayo could wind up being the top free agent option at the position all things considered. The Timberwolves should absolutely make a solid multi-year offer when the time comes, but if a bidding war occurs Mayo may wind up being too expensive to bring aboard.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.