The money being thrown around on the first day of NBA free agency is ridiculous, with every team having room to spend with an increased salary cap. That means non-marquee players have inflated market value, as teams that can’t or don’t want to be in the mix for higher-end free agents make moves.
Even coming off a broken ankle, O.J. Mayo could have cashed in nicely as a free agent this offseason. Well, at least until this news surfaced.
NBA announced free agent O.J. Mayo has been dismissed & disqualified from the NBA for violating terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) July 1, 2016
Mayo has been an underachiever since he was drafted third overall in 2008, and he’s coming off averaging a career-low 7.8 points per game over 41 games (24 starts) with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2015-16. He can apply for reinstatement in two years, but that is far from a guarantee and he may be done in the NBA. Career earnings over $46 million is nothing to sneeze at, but more increased salary cap projections over the next couple years takes significant money off the table for Mayo.
Mayo is not the first athlete to make a stupid decision off the field or court that put his career at stake, and he obviously won’t be the last. But his timing was impeccably bad, and that makes Mayo’s case unique in some small way.