Storyline: OJ Mayo Free Agency

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Does Mayo’s suspension preclude him from playing in the G League? The simple answer is no. While the NBA does indeed offer contracts when it comes to all G League players (with the exception of the recently added two-way deals) and therefore they have the final say as to whether they want to offer a deal to Mayo. The criteria for a G League contract, however, is undefined, and is treated on a case-by-case basis which includes a background check.

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Mayo’s next move isn’t clear. He’s still with Landmark Sports Agency, but Rob Pelinka, his old agent, is now the Lakers’ GM. He’s interested in playing in China, Spain or Israel this fall, but he hasn’t yet fielded any offers. If nothing concrete materializes, Mayo has an invite to continue his current training program in Minnesota, where Johnson and Gaines will be working with Jimmy Butler. “When you mess up, teams wonder whether they want to put their hands on you,” Mayo said. “I respect that. They can only go by a rap sheet or a résumé. If I get somewhere, I think I can change the perception.”

“I want to go back to what I left [in Milwaukee],” Mayo said. “I was real close with Jason Kidd. That was the best relationship I had with a coach besides [Barnes]. I had great relationships with Giannis [Antetokounmpo] and Khris Middleton. I was comfortable there. I felt like I let them down, cheated them for two years. They paid me $8 million to be, in my eyes, a subpar player. They invested millions of dollars for me to be on top of my s—, and when you’re not on top of your s—, it shows. If they just give me the chance, I can make it up. I owe them.”

After July 1, 2018, Mayo will be eligible to apply for reinstatement to the NBA. Per league guidelines, both the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association must approve his return, and the two sides can consider a host of factors to weigh that decision, including the circumstances surrounding Mayo’s dismissal, his personal conduct during the ban, his character and morality, whether he has completed a treatment program, and whether he’s a “suitable role model for youth.” Mayo must also be able to “demonstrate by proof of random urine testing” that he has not failed any marijuana or drug tests for a year prior to his reinstatement application.

Once the 2016-17 NBA season started, a “hurt” and “lost” Mayo couldn’t bear to watch, consumed by remorse over the years that had preceded his ban. He had “burned the candle at both ends [until I] ain’t got no candle left.” His “entourage” had grown too big, and he had prioritized “showing love to friends, hanging out, and finding girls” over the gym. He acknowledged smoking marijuana and abusing a prescription pain medication that triggered his two-year ban because it is on the NBA’s “drugs of abuse” list. (He emphatically denied testing positive for hard drugs like cocaine.)

“[Thinking I’m crazy] is an easy perspective for someone to have given the way I was living,” Mayo said. “I’m not ignorant. Somebody could easily fix their mind to say something like that because of my résumé. I don’t have a media rep or PR company making sure that everything is good, and I don’t go to social media with my problems. “But that ain’t me. I’m far from crazy. I’ve made some crazy a– decisions, but I’m not crazy. I’m good with myself. I’m comfortable with my body. I dug myself a hole, but it’s not a coffin. I can still get out.”
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November 22, 2017 | 3:08 am EST Update

Larry Nance Jr. back Monday?

Larry Nance Jr. could be back on the court for the Lakers as early as Monday, barely three weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a fracture in his left hand. The third-year power forward has been practicing with the team since his cast came off on Nov. 14. After playing Wednesday at Sacramento, the Lakers will go four days before their next game, Monday against the Clippers.
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Lillard says the two never had a problem, and that Aldridge has already heard everything he says in this article. Lillard’s point in bringing up his experience with Aldridge is that it helped shape his approach in how to mentor Nurkic. “Me and LaMarcus had a good relationship. We never had a single argument. We really got along,’’ Lillard said. “I’m just saying the stuff I want to go out of my way to do for (Nurkic), is the stuff I wish I got from LaMarcus.’’
Leaning in, Lillard tousled Nurkic’s hoodie, then took a seat next to him. What would follow is another layer in what is a powerful and unique relationship between two of the team’s pillars. “I know what it’s like to be young and counted on,’’ Lillard later explained. The relationship is powerful in how it has impacted Nurkic. “Damian Lillard,’’ Nurkic said, “is the best thing that has happened to me in my life.’’
What’s in front of the Timberwolves is a chance to become the type of team Thibodeau always envisioned, with Butler serving as the steady hand who can take games over late, something Thibodeau was sorely lacking a year ago. “A lot of things have changed since we’ve been here, since this team has been together — for the better,” Butler said. “I think we can continue in this direction because we all expect so much from one another, from the organization”