The trade talk involving superstar center Dwight Howard being dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers has begun to heat up once again. The most recent rumor involving Howard headed to the Lakers includes the Cleveland Cavaliers as the third team that would acquire Andrew Bynum in the deal.
Although acquiring Howard may be the team’s top priority as of right now, the Lakers’ front office is still exploring options to upgrade the bench. Now that the point guard is much improved with the addition of Steve Nash, the bench has become the team’s biggest weakness moving forward.
Unfortunately, the Lakers are extremely limited in terms of options in free agency with only the veteran’s minimum and the mini-midlevel exception at their disposal. One free agent option that the Lakers have reported expressed interest in is O.J. Mayo according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports via Twitter:
Free agent G OJ Mayo getting interest from Lakers, Chicago, Phoenix and Dallas and hopes to make decision in next 10 days, source tells Y!
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 14, 2012
Even though Mayo is arguably one of the best free agent options still available as of right now, the former USC standout has been thought to be out of the Lakers’ price range. With only the mini-midlevel of $3 million per season to offer Mayo, the Lakers are hoping that he’ll consider signing with Los Angeles for a hometown discount from his days playing at USC.
If the Lakers were able to sign the 24-year-old shooting guard, Mayo would be an ideal fit in Los Angeles as the best scoring option off the bench and a perfect backup for Kobe Bryant. Mayo is no stranger to coming off the bench in a backup role as that is exactly what he’s doing with the Memphis Grizzlies over the past few years.
As a scorer with the potential to put up 20 or more points on any given night, Mayo would help cure the offensive deficiencies off the bench for Lakers Coach Mike Brown, and may turn out to be a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. Last season, Mayo averaged 12.6 points per game for the Grizzlies while shooting 36 percent from beyond the arc.
Mayo is also receiving interest from the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns. The Boston Celtics have also expressed interest in signing Mayo.
As of right now, the most likely big-name free agent to sign with the Lakers is Grant Hill. Kobe and Nash have been recruiting Hill to come to L.A. and it seems to be working with the veteran seriously considering the Lakers as his number one option.