Guard O.J. Mayo, who is leading the NBA in 3-point percentage and having a career season with the Mavericks, said he talked with the Celtics over the summer after he was not re-signed by the Memphis Grizzlies. Mayo shot 3 of 7 Wednesday night in a 117-115 double-overtime loss to the Celtics.
Mayo signed a one-year deal with a player option with the Mavericks and is their leading scorer, averaging 20.9 points per game, as the club waits for Dirk Nowitzki to return from knee surgery.
The Celtics attempted to acquire Mayo for Ray Allen before the trade deadline last February, and talked with his representatives again over the summer. The Celtics eventually acquired Courtney Lee in a sign-and-trade, signing him to a four-year deal.
“There was definitely interest in talking to them,” Mayo said before the game. “See what we could work out. But I don’t think we moved as fast as they liked. They made some other signing, so it’s all good.”
Mayo said he didn’t concentrate on the speculation, although his eventual exit from Memphis appeared apparent.
“I really tried not to pay attention to the trade rumor talk,” he said. “Obviously when the trade deadline is around, all the trade talk, rumors, if you get caught up in it, then your head will kind of be fogged up and you won’t be focused on what you’ve got at hand.”
When asked if he thought he was coming to Boston, Mayo said, “No, not at all. I didn’t get any wind of it. My agent didn’t talk to me about it. So, no.”
Mayo said he hasn’t considered whether he would opt out of his contract or reconsider coming to the Celtics, although they have committed to Lee and Jason Terry at shooting guard for the long term.
“I haven’t even looked that far down the line,” he said. “Right now, I’m just trying to get a victory over the Celtics.”
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle once again entertained the media with his dry humor, especially when asked about his Boston playing days. Carlisle was questioned about his part on the 1986 championship team.
“The other thing I feel very good about is I know my number is going to be retired here one day,” he said of the “34” he wore, currently owned by Paul Pierce. “I’ll be very proud when it goes up into the rafters. I’ll try to be here that for that, too. Pierce, it will be in recognition, he’ll share in that, too. But I’m going to really look forward to that.
“Look the ’86 team, if you’re from Boston, that’s one of the special teams ever. That was a great memory. [Larry] Bird and I were talking about that the other day on the phone and some of the events that happened after that game, which I won’t talk about.”
Carlisle had an observation about Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.
“He just has a great understanding of their team,” Carlisle said. “His quickness and ability to probe and get into the paint makes him really murder to deal with.
“The perception that his outside shooting is his weakness, he reminds me of Dennis Johnson because everybody said that about DJ. And the guy would hit big shot after big shot during his whole career in Boston. Rondo is the same way. He makes big shots.
“Really what it is, it’s the lesser of two evils; him hitting a guy for a three is worse that him hitting a jump shot. It’s not a very good A or B situation. A [stinks] and B [stinks], too.”
Carter filling it up Vince Carter, who had 10 points Wednesday, has embraced the sixth man role for the Mavericks, coming off the bench for all 23 of the team’s games and averaging 12.5 points, third on the club. That has helped the Mavericks’ transition after Terry’s departure.
“Vince has been the guy to try to fill the void left by Jet,” Carlisle said. “The guy on the bench who can give you some scoring, give you some playmaking. Vince does a lot of other good things. He’s one of our guys who takes charges.
“The other thing about Vince and Shawn Marion, too, at the beginning of training camp, those two guys have set a leadership tone, partly in Dirk’s absence. It’s helped our team continue to make some gradual steps overall.”
Mavericks rookie forward Jae Crowder, a second-round pick who has been a pleasant surprise, missed the game with flu-like symptoms and remained at the team hotel. He was expected to meet his teammates for their flight to Toronto late Wednesday night . . . Celtics center Fab Melo was sent back to Maine of the NBADL. Coach Doc Rivers said Melo had only been recalled to rehabilitate an injury and needed to be on the active roster to do so.