It is possible Flip Saunders may be doing his best to lower expectations.
The word leaked to the old KFAN-heads and was disseminated via Twitter (Darren Wolfson and Dan Barreiro) that Flip is a fan of O.J. Mayo and maybe, perhaps, kinda interested in overpaying for the undersized shooting guard and former Wolves draft pick this summer.
So, first blush of Flip’s love for long twos is a potential Mayo signing. (Deep breaths… Deep breaths…)
There is hope this could be a smokescreen. Flip and Kevin McHale were fond of telling the story of attending a Kevin Garnett workout in the hopes of giving the impression the Wolves were actually interested in KG before seeing he was the real deal and attempting to cover their tracks by talking him down. So, maybe Flip is keeping ‘em guessing. Maybe?
Before you go saying O.J. Mayo made a name for himself as more than just a volume shooting, streak shooter in Dallas this year, see what his coach had to say about him towards the end of this season…
DALLAS — Rick Carlisle bolted a couple of steps onto the court, right in the path of O.J. Mayo dribbling up the sideline, to frantically call a timeout midway through the fourth quarter.
After the referee blew the whistle, Carlisle shot a disgusted stare toward Mayo. The Dallas Mavericks coach appeared to resist the urge to rip the ball away from his 25-year-old shooting guard, who had two sloppy turnovers and a weak foul on a made layup in the minute and a half before that uncomfortable moment.
“I called that timeout just to get you out of the game!” Carlisle screamed at Mayo in the huddle, according to one player.
Just in case Mayo didn’t get the message, Carlisle made his criticism loud and clear during his postgame news conference after the Mavs’ 103-97 loss to theMemphis Grizzlies. Mayo had a miserable performance against his former team, scoring only two points on 1-of-6 shooting and committing four turnovers before watching crunch time from the pine.
“I just want to see him show up,” said Carlisle, who was as harsh publicly with a player as he’s been since calling outLamar 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.”
The trouble is that Mayo tends to have bad nights against the West’s best teams. He has averaged only 10.6 points while shooting 38.2 percent from the floor and 19.0 percent from 3-point range against the conference’s top five seeds. Not coincidentally, the Mavs were 3-15 in those games.