The Memphis Grizzlies had agreed in principle to trade guard O.J. Mayo to the Indiana Pacers for forward Josh McRoberts and a 2011 first-round pick, league sources said Thursday, but the deal fell apart.
Minutes before the league's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, multiple sources told ESPN.com that a deal had been struck. But shortly after the deadline passed, Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley expressed concern that Memphis and Indiana might have missed the deadline to submit the transaction to the league, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.
An hour after the deadline, one source told ESPN.com that the two teams failed to finalize the deal before 3 p.m., while another source said the Grizzlies pulled out of the agreement before the league trade call could make it official.
"Indiana was not able to get it all together," Heisley said in a post-deadline interview with NBA.com. "People are going to say I have reservations [about the proposed trade]. I think from our point of view, we were interested in the trade going forward. It was a very, very difficult conversation for us.
"It took us a long time to decide. We were getting a lot of players at the 2 and 3 position and we were getting a little skinny at the 4. We had three candidates we were looking at and when we decided on one, O.J. had to be part of that trade. It wasn't that we were anxious to get rid of him."
Heisley insisted the deal had nothing to do with Mayo, but rather the logjam the Grizzlies have in their backcourt, which also includes Tony Allen, Sam Young, Rudy Gay, Xavier Henry and Shane Battier, whom the Grizzlies acquired at Thursday's deadline.
The Bulls "aggressively pursued" Mayo, according to a Chicago Tribune report citing multiple league sources. The Bulls offered guard Ronnie Brewer along with two first-round picks and one second-round pick to the Grizzlies but were rebuffed, according to the report.
"People call up for O.J. all the time," Heisley told NBA.com. "We received a number of calls on O.J. What I would say to O.J. is there are a lot of people -- including us -- who think you're a good player. It's not that we're down on O.J., it's just that we've got a lot of players who've blossomed in recent time. It's not that they've beaten O.J. out, but we've just got a lot of players vying for limited minutes."
The Pacers had been looking for a proven scorer at the 2-spot for weeks, and their search intensified in the past week when Mike Dunleavy broke his finger.
Mayo was the third pick in the 2008 draft, in which the Grizzlies traded the rights to Kevin Love to acquire Mayo on draft day. While Mayo got off to a strong start for Memphis, he has struggled this season and was recently removed from the starting lineup.
Mayo also has had off-court troubles this season. He received a 10-game suspension in late January for violating the NBA's drug policy, saying later he believed an "energy drink" he bought at a gas station contained the substance (dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA) that led to his positive test. Weeks before his suspension, Mayo and Allen fought on a team flight over an unpaid debt from a card game.
Information from ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford was used in this report.