Timberwolves, Grizzlies swap Mayo for Love

MINNEAPOLIS (TICKER) —The Minnesota Timberwolves agreed to send No. 3 overall pick O.J. Mayo to the Memphis Grizzlies for fifth selection Kevin Love as part of an eight-player deal early Friday morning.

Hours after the completion of the NBA draft at Madison Square Garden, the Timberwolvs confirmed the blockbuster trade minutes before 3 a.m. EDT.

Other than Mayo, the Timberwolves dealt Marko Jaric, Greg Buckner and Antoine Walker to the Grizzlies for Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins.

A talented guard from Southern California, Mayo was coveted by several teams after averaging 20.7 points as a freshman with the Trojans.

Love, who is Mayo’s good friend, led UCLA - USC’s main rival - to its third straight Final Four as a freshman.

Memphis also swapped its second first-round pick, sending Syracuse’s Donte Greene to the Houston Rockets for the rights to Darrell Arthur, who had been selected 27th in the first round by the New Orleans Hornets and traded to the Portland Trail Blazers.

But the story was the swap of Mayo and Love, who headlined a relatively quiet draft night which had been rumored to be littered with more big-time deals.

Timberwolves general manager Kevin McHale, who shifted the power of the NBA by trading Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics last offseason, may have made a more shrewd deal this time.

McHale reportedly wanted to draft Love but felt that Mayo was worth more to other teams. He drafted the latter and acquired the former along with sharpshooter Miller and Cardinal, whose contract expires after the 2009-10 season.

A former All-Star, Miller’s name was bandied about in several trade rumors prior to the draft. He averaged 16.4 points and shot 43 percent from the arc last season.

Minnesota likely will place Love at center, allowing the team to move emerging star Al Jefferson to his natural position of power forward. Miller would complement the inside duo with his long-range prowess.

Memphis, which traded center Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers this season, is in desperate need of some star power as well as some on-court help - Mayo provides both.


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Updated Friday, Jun 27, 2008