After wining an NBA Championship in 2011, the Dallas Mavericks have become a shell of their former selves. Mark Cuban and the rest of the Dallas Mavericks organization have taken this offseason to really turn things back around and build back up into a sustainable contender. One of the new additions to the team is highly regarded shooting guard O.J. Mayo, who leaves Memphis to join Dallas and Dirk Nowitzki in the chase for another ring. He sits down with ESPN Dallas to discuss taking less money to join the Mavericks and how he feels he will fit in with the new look squad.
O.J. Mayo joined ESPN Radio in Dallas with Ben and Skin to talk about why he opted to sign with the Dallas Mavericks, what he sees in Dirk Nowitzki’s game that makes him so eager to play with the star, why he thinks his stats have dropped in recent seasons, why he decided to take less money to join the Mavericks, playing alongside Darren Collison and whether he’s met with Mark Cuban.
Why did you sign with the Dallas Mavericks?
“I felt it was the best situation for me. They have a good team, they have a great player in Dirk Nowitzki , they have a terrific owner with Mark Cuban and Coach Carlisle is unbelievable, I watched him since he coached in Indiana. After seeing Jason Kidd and Jason Terry go their separate ways, I felt it was a good opportunity for me, a young guard, to go and compete.”
How do you see Dirk’s game and your game working together?
“We’ve seen over the course of his career, it’s impossible to stop him. We played at Dallas four times a year, the pick and roll between Jason Terry and Dirk is hard to stop. Getting the opportunity to play the pick and roll with Dirk will enhance my game and definitely keep the team at a high level.”
Why have your stats dropped over the past few seasons?
“The dynamics of our team had to change. It’s hard to play with five scorers on the floor. There’s not enough basketball to go around. Our bench was struggling at the time so Coach Hollins thought it was best if I move to the bench and help the scoring load off the bench. To be more aggressive offensively we moved Tony Allen into the two guard position as a defender to take some of the pressure off Rudy [Gay] and Mike [Conley] on the defensive end. At the end of the day I wasn’t happy with the change because you want to start, it’s part of your competitive nature. It happened to work and Coach Hollins wants to win as bad as the players so I didn’t take it as a personal threat or anything. It was best for the team and it meant less minutes so my stats went down.”
If it came down to just money, could you have gone and made more money elsewhere?
“Yes, but I’m about winning and my contract worked great for the front office and Mr. Cuban. At the same time I felt the foundation of the team was still there and we definitely stand as one of the better teams in the league.”
You have played against newly acquired point guard Darren Collison. Tell us what kind of player he is and how you’ll fit with him.
“I think we’ll fit great together. He’s a big time competitor, I’ve been playing against him since our rivalry days of USC and UCLA. He’s a great point guard. Even through pick up games and open gym we would call him coach because he has a real high basketball IQ and he gets the job done.”
When the Mavericks first started talking to you how involved was Mark Cuban? Did you ever sit down and talk with him?
“Yes, he’s a great guy. It’s crazy, playing with the Grizzlies, I really didn’t talk to Mr. Heisley much. The first week signing with Dallas [Mark Cuban] texted me and tweeted me and was very involved with my decision along with Coach Carlisle and Mr. Nelson. They were all great meetings every time and It just felt like the perfect fit.”