OJ Mayo

If anyone had predicted a few months ago that guard O.J. Mayo would be the Milwaukee Bucks’ highest-paid player next season, the remark likely would have generated a few laughs.

Strange but true.

The 25-year-old guard signed a three-year, $24 million free-agent deal with Milwaukee last month and his $8 million salary is tops on the team for the 2013-’14 season, just above the $7.9 million owed to power forward Ersan Ilyasova.

The Bucks tried to sign point guard Jeff Teague to a four-year, $32 million deal but had the offer matched by the Atlanta Hawks.

Instead they made a trade with Detroit that landed 21-year-old point guard Brandon Knight, who is still on his rookie-scale contract and will make $2.9 million next season.

Bucks general manager John Hammond worked tirelessly during July to reshape the roster and start a rebuilding process that he hopes will pay dividends in the future.

The approach was to acquire young talent to build around 24-year-old Larry Sanders and 22-year-old John Henson; and also to sign veterans (Zaza Pachulia, Luke Ridnour and Carlos Delfino) to contribute and provide leadership in the locker room.

Reported by Charles F. Gardner of theĀ Milwaukee Journal Sentinel