(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The Bucks have agreed to sign unrestricted free agent guard O.J. Mayo to a multi-year contract, according to multiple reports.
Yahoo! Sports and ESPN.com both report that Mayo will receive a three-year contract worth $24 million.
The free-agent negotiating period opened on Monday. Contracts can’t officially be signed until July 10.
Mayo, 25, averaged 15.3 points, 4.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds and started all 82 games for the Mavericks last season. Last summer, he signed a two-year contract worth $8.2 million that had a player option for 2013-14, and he elected to opt out earlier this summer.
A confident shooting guard who hit a career-high 40.7 percent of his three-pointers last year, Mayo came charging out of the gate in Dirk Nowitzki's absence due to injury, making a strong early case for Most Improved Player. His shooting and scoring numbers tailed off hard as the season continued, dropping like a rock from January on. By April, once the Mavericks were eliminated from the postseason, coach Rick Carlisle took some public shots at Mayo after a loss to the Grizzlies.
"He wasn’t into it the first half," Carlisle said, according to the Dallas Morning News. "We showed him some film at halftime where he was virtually just standing around defensively. We said, ‘Hey, we need you,’ tried to get him going a little bit. ... I just want to see him show up and compete. He didn’t compete tonight."
Earlier this week, the Bucks agreed to sign-and-trade guard J.J. Redick to the Clippers for a pair of second-round picks after it became clear he wouldn't re-sign in Milwaukee. Back in June, guard Monta Ellis reportedly rejected a two-year extension that would have paid him $25 million on top of his $11 million player option for 2013-14.
Mayo's arrival likely ensures Ellis' departure. The $8 million per year figure is more than a number of other wings have received this offseason. Mayo will pull in more than Tony Allen ($20 million over four years), Martell Webster ($22 million over four years, although the last year isn't guaranteed), Kyle Korver ($24 million over four years), J.R. Smith ($25 million over four years), Redick ($27 million over four years) and Kevin Martin ($28 million over four years).
Is Mayo the most desirable player on that list? It's hard to make that case. Mayo's PER of 14 last season ranked No. 24 among two guards, trailing Smith, Martin and Redick. His negative plus-minus and below-par net rating don't help his case either.
. This has all the hallmarks of a classic small-market over-pay. Backed into a corner by the Redick and Ellis situations, the Bucks had to plug the off-guard hole or risk the consequences. Mayo's deal is probably 25 percent too generous, given the comparable players signed this summer, but if Milwaukee felt they had to overpay either Mayo or Ellis, they made the right call. At least Mayo is two years younger and can hit a three-pointer. And, if he can find a way to sustain his top-level play with a bit more consistency, it's conceivable that he could play his way into earning this deal.