O.J. Mayo was sent to the bench in favor of rookie Xavier Henry — and that has been best for the team and him, now that Mayo has started to accept the bench scorer role and put up double digit points the last three games, including 24 against the Bobcats. But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy.
When a guy gets benched in the NBA — particularly a guy with the skills of Mayo — other team’s GMs start to call and ask questions. This leads to trade rumors leaking out.
“I wanted O.J. to know how much we think of him,” Heisley said. “I stand behind our plan. My goal is to keep these five guys together and try to build a good team. We had a good talk. There were no problems.”
“It was very positive,” Mayo said of his meeting with Heisley. “He said he had no interest in trading me and he thought moving me to the bench was best for the team, which I agreed with. I have a great relationship with (Heisley) and Mr. Gene Bartow (president of Hoops LP, the Grizzlies’ business arm). It’s always cool when you have important and well-respected guys rooting for you. It’s a boost of confidence. They’re pretty much on my side even though I’ve struggled.”
We need to see more than good numbers in a blowout of the Bobcats to say for sure Mayo has turned the corner, but at least he will not be popping up in trade rumors for a while. Probably.
DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings
The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.
So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?
“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”
“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”
“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”
Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.
And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.
Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?
LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)
NEW YORK (AP) — Derrick Rose is missing the New York Knicks’ game against Cleveland because of lower back pain.
Rose left the Knicks’ victory over Miami on Tuesday in the third quarter with back spasms. Coach Jeff Hornacek says Rose still felt sore on Wednesday when he came in and met with team doctors, so they sent him for an MRI exam to make sure there was no structural damage.
Rose is averaging 16.7 points and this is the first game he’s missed this season.