Marc Iavaroni Doesn't Dislike OJ Mayo

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Marc Iavaroni

Yesterday my colleague Tom Ziller talked about how some NBA teams are embracing blogs in the wake of ever-shrinking coverage from slowly-dying newspapers. He referenced the Golden State Warriors but could have just as easily been talking about the Memphis Grizzlies, who have routinely offered the excellent 3 Shades of Blue blog exclusive sit-downs with owner Michael Heisley, GM Chris Wallace and, today, head coach Marc Iavaroni.

It's a win-win situation for everybody involved -- the team gets a few thousand words of coverage during the dog days of September and the blog gets some well-deserved publicity. Fans of the team win, too, especially considering Chip from 3 Shades asked tough questions and prints Iavaroni's complete, in-depth answers and not just a boiled down one-liner readers would have received from a traditional reporter constrained by inches on a dead tree. The whole interview is worth reading, but here's my favorite highlight:

3SOB: It was reported that you played the devil's advocate on the O.J. Mayo trade. What were the reasons against the trade and what arguments were being made in favor of it?

MI: I think again another healthy situation. Here we are in what used to be called the war room but here we are in the draft night and frankly I think it was positive. We said let's look at everything. Now if someone wants to brand me the devil's advocate as several people were saying that is fine. I've never been a sheep. Mr. Heisley has never been a sheep. Heisley has always led by leading and I am the same way. Obviously, foremost on my mind is that we were a young team and we were going to get younger. Like it or not I tend to develop affinities for players in my corner and one of those players was Mike Miller.

The number one reason for being a devil's advocate was Mike Miller's a pretty good player. I really like him as a person. I thought he embodied what we are trying to do here. It was not I don't like O.J. Mayo. I think that's what happens when you start getting into this. People say that you liked Miller more than Mayo. No, I questioned it because I wanted to make sure what we were giving up makes sense in the future. And like everyone else talking through it you realize it is enough. Mike Miller's deal is coming up in a few years. He's going to be eligible for an extension. We had a player who could be as good and maybe better in O.J. Mayo. We also felt that we felt we had it in our power get more bigs so maybe weren't going to need Kevin Love. Kevin Love also had some knee issues. That was frankly more frightening to people down the road management and ownership-wise than for me who is trying to win next year.

Kudos again to 3 Shades for the interview, and to the Grizzlies for recognizing the value of embracing independent blog. And be sure to visit 3 Shades again tomorrow for Part II of their interview.

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