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.
All of it hit Mayo pretty hard, so owner Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley had a talk with him, according to the Commercial Appeal.
“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.