NBA rumors: OJ Mayo heading to Russia

After securing the arrival of Mario Hezonja, Russian team UNICS Kazan will announce soon the signing of former NBA guard OJ Mayo.

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UNICS Kazan is adding one more marquee name to its roster with O.J.Mayo having a one-year deal with the Russian club. While there’s no signed contract yet, that seems to be more a formality delayed by bureaucratic reasons.
Zhang Duo: OJ Mayo has re-signed with Liaoning, reported by Song Xiang. He didn’t leave China since last season ended.
Zhang Duo: Former NBA star OJ Mayo has reached an agreement with a CBA team, first reported by Eddie Tsai. pic.twitter.com/Cn9wz4ETfd
O.J. Mayo, the third overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, has impressed his new boss and fans in Hunan province, China, after two pre-season games. Hunan Yongsheng Basketball Club, a top side in China's second-tier National Basketball League (NBL), announced last Wednesday it had signed with Mayo. The signing triggered great attention in Hunan.
In July 2016, Mayo was dismissed and disqualified from the NBA for 2 years for violating the league's anti-drug program. After that, he traveled around the world, and played in some basketball leagues abroad. When asked about whether he wanted go back to the NBA in the future, Mayo said "my main focus right now is to bring the championship to Changsha."
Emiliano Carchia: ICYMI: Former NBA player O.J. Mayo has signed in Taiwan with Dacin Tigers. He has already played a few games in the Asian country
Emiliano Carchia: OJ Mayo signed in Puerto Rico to attempt comeback to the NBA, his agent @csantaellaSSA announced on Twitter
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.
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.”
O.J. Mayo says he's fighting his ban from the NBA after allegedly violating the league's drug policy -- and tells TMZ Sports he expects to be back on the court soon. The league handed down the punishment back in July -- and said he'll be eligible to apply for reinstatement in 2 years. The league has not released any details about the substance that triggered the violation.
Taj Gibson: head up bro @juicemayo3 and keep working. #trojanfamily #minorsetbackforamajorcomeback
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