Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley said Thursday that he and his team did not pull out of a proposed deal that would have sent guard O.J. Mayo to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for power forward Josh McRoberts and a first-round pick.
“Indiana was not able to get it all together,” Heisley said in a telephone interview. “People are going to say I have reservations (about the proposed trade). I think from our point of view, we were interested in the trade going forward. It was a very, very difficult conversation for us. It took us a long time to decide. We were getting a lot of players at the two and three position and we were getting a little skinny at the four. We had three candidates we were looking at and when we decided on one, O.J. had to be part of that trade. It wasn’t that we were anxious to get rid of him.”
The Grizzlies also re-acquired forward Shane Battier, who spent his first five NBA seasons in Memphis, earlier Thursday from Houston in a trade for Hasheem Thabeet, the second pick of the 2008 Draft that had gotten next to no run in Memphis.
Mayo had been on the block for weeks, after receiving a 10-game suspension last month by the league for violating its substance abuse program — he tested positive for the steroid DHEA — and getting into a fight before the suspension on the Grizzlies’ team plane with teammate Tony Allen over a card game. Heisley, though, insisted that Memphis didn’t want to trade Mayo and wouldn’t have put him in the deal except for the Pacers’ insistence.
“We’ve already got Tony Allen, (Sam) Young, Battier, Rudy Gay, Xavier Henry,” Heisley said. “We’ve got a lot of guys in that (wing) area, and we’ve only got (Darrell) Arthur and Zach (Randolph) at the forward position.”
Heisley said he didn’t think the Grizzlies needed to mend any fences with Mayo, whom the Grizzlies acquired in a draft day trade in 2008 from Minnesota in exchange for Kevin Love.
“People call up for O.J. all the time,” Heisley said. “We received a number of calls on O.J. What I would say to O.J. is there are a lot of people — including us — who think you’re a good player. It’s not that we’re down on O.J., it’s just that we’ve got a lot of players who’ve blossomed in recent time. It’s not that they’ve beaten O.J. out, but we’ve just got a lot of players vying for limited minutes.”