The Memphis Grizzlies surprisingly decided not to extend a qualifying offer to O.J. Mayo, making the shooting guard an unrestricted free agent when the free agency period arrives on July 1.
The Boston Celtics have been rumored to have interest in acquiring Mayo via trade, and would naturally be interested in landing him as a free agent. But there are a few barriers to their pursuit.
The possibility exists for the Celtics to open more than $20 million in cap space, but for now -- with the Celtics retaining Bird rights on Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, among others -- they have cap holds that render their potential cap space essentially useless.
If Garnett retires, Allen moves on to another team or Danny Ainge decides to throw a curveball and renounce the rights to some free agents, the Celtics could open some room underneath the cap.
But as their situation stands now, their ability to sign free agents is limited to the mid-level exception and minimum contracts. Since Mayo is expected to command a larger deal, the Celtics would almost certainly have to do some maneuvering in their quest to obtain him.
Exploring a sign-and-trade deal to land Mayo is still a possibility, even if nothing changes regarding Boston's cap space. Reports have conflicted about whether the Celtics are interested in including Brandon Bass in a sign-and-trade for Mayo.