JaVale McGee, the talented but oftentimes malignant big man, is expected to clear waivers on Wednesday, when he can negotiate with other teams in the NBA.
According to the Bleacher Report, there is quite a bit of interest in McGee. Before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers from the Denver Nuggets, McGee was averaging 5.2 points per game and 2.8 rebounds coming off the bench in 17 games for the Nuggets. However, McGee clashed with the 76ers coaching staff, when it was decided that the 76ers would buy out the remainder of McGee’s contract.
McGee has shown over his career that he can provide both an offensive and defensive spark in short bursts. Since being drafted 18th overall by the Washington Wizards in the 2008 NBA Draft, McGee has averaged 8.4 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, and 1.8 blocks per game. Decent numbers in a backup role, which many current teams getting ready for the playoffs could use.
One team being mentioned is the Dallas Mavericks. McGee would be a good fit for Mark Cuban’s team. McGee can come in and spell Tyson Chandler and Dirk Nowitzky during games, providing the Mavericks with quality minutes while resting their starters.
Still, why would anyone want to take a chance on a player that has been on three different teams since the 2011-2012 season? According to NBC Sports, it all has to do with cost and role. No NBA team wants to pay a player who’s earned the nickname “Shaqtin’ A Fool.” $12 million a year for a starting center who has traditionally shown he can’t pull starter numbers. But, as a backup for the league, with a minimum salary through a playoff push, teams have lined up to secure McGee’s services.
McGee is still a very athletic player, who can do the basics rather well: run the floor, block shots, score some points in a limited role. Most any NBA team either in the playoffs or trying to get there could use McGee in a backup role to spell the starters.
Besides the Mavericks, teams that are publicly known to want to talk to McGee are the Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Clippers. All four teams could benefit from McGee’s backup presence.
This is how it would work: once McGee clears waivers Wednesday, he becomes an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any team. Teams can sign McGee outright, without having to compensate another team. When the contract is signed, he joins his new team. However, he is showing no rush to get back into the NBA, wanting to view all his options before deciding where to go.
[Image courtesy of the Bleacher Report]