Golden State Warriors trade rumors suggest that the team could make a deal before the NBA trade deadline on February 8. Several reports by The Athletic have advertised that JaVale McGee is available and that the “fan-favorite” could be playing his final minutes for the Warriors this week. A new report by Phil Taylor touches on the subject as well, quoting McGee on how he is preparing for games, despite knowing that his name has been coming up in various NBA trade rumors.
The immediate reaction to this story by some Warriors fans is going to be a look of surprise. Why would the Warriors trade McGee and what would the team be looking for in return? It all boils down to money and playing time. Marcus Thompson III of The Athletic cited that McGee has been unhappy with his “floor time and his minimum salary,” possibly bringing some discontent to a roster that is looking to win its third NBA title in just four seasons.
JaVale McGee makes just about $2.2 million this season and it is the final year of his contract. It is the second one-year deal that he has signed with the Golden State Warriors. Last year, he played in 77 games for the team, averaging 9.6 minutes, 6.1 points, and 3.2 rebounds a game. McGee saw similar action in the postseason but was never a key contributor off the bench. He was used more often in a mop-up role, which isn’t where most players want to be.
Some timely 3-pointers proved to be the difference tonight in Sacramento. See how the Dubs got it done???? https://t.co/bYEMlfgxG1
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 3, 2018
The reason salary comes into play here, is because the Golden State Warriors are deep into the luxury tax penalty for the 2017-18 NBA season. If the team can find a way to deal some salary, even if it is just the roughly $1 million still owed to McGee this season, it means even more savings in tax fees. There are likely going to be teams willing to offer something like a future second-round pick to get McGee as well, suggesting that it would be possible to pull off a deal without salary coming back to the franchise.
Parting with McGee could be a risky move for the Warriors, as it would take away some of the depth that the team has on the bench. Plus, the fans at Warriors games tend to love the energy that he brings to the floor, even if it is with the third unit and for fewer than 10 minutes a night. Dealing him might also bring the team a public relations hit, especially if one of the other big men on the roster were to get injured. These Golden State Warriors trade rumors from The Athletic don’t indicate a move is imminent, but it’s something for fans to watch closely.