January 26, 2021
NBA Rumors: Nets Could Acquire JaVale McGee Via Player Exception, 'Bleacher Report' Suggests

Although the Brooklyn Nets made big steps on the offensive end when they traded for James Harden, the team arguably sacrificed a lot on the defensive side of things when Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Caris LeVert was shipped to the Indiana Pacers as part of that deal. However, the Nets could potentially upgrade their defense once again by using their disabled player exception to acquire JaVale McGee from the Cavs.

As noted by Bleacher Report on Tuesday, the Nets have had difficulty shutting down opposing teams since Harden's arrival, with their defensive rating of 119.2 putting them 29th out of 30 clubs at the time of writing. This stretch has seen them surrender 124 points to a Miami Heat with an injured Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro and lose two games to Cleveland, whose starting power forward, Kevin Love, is also out with injuries. Quite notably, DeAndre Jordan has been seen as underwhelming on defense, and as the outlet suggested, the 32-year-old center could potentially get "destroyed" in a postseason matchup against the Heat's Bam Adebayo, the Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, or the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Given how Brooklyn won't be able to trade first-round selections for the next eight drafts, Bleacher Report suggested that the organization could make use of the $5.7 million disabled player exception it was granted after Spencer Dinwiddie's season-ending ACL injury. The outlet recommended making a move for McGee, who, despite being one year older than Jordan, has remained productive while playing limited minutes.

JaVale McGee of the Cleveland Cavaliers outrebounds Boston Celtics center Tacko Fall.
Getty Images | Maddie Meyer

Rumors of the Nets trying to land McGee are nothing new. Last week, Sam Amico of FortyEightMinutes tweeted that the Nets have been in multiple talks with the Cavs and might "soon" be filling one of their two vacant roster spots by acquiring McGee from Cleveland.

Currently, McGee has averages of 8.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in only 16.8 minutes per game, and is fresh off a season where he won an NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. He has, however, dropped to third in the depth chart at center behind Andre Drummond and the newly-acquired Allen, and his field-goal shooting has declined significantly, from last year's 63.7 percent clip to 45 percent in 15 games this season, according to his Basketball-Reference page.

McGee isn't the only big man whom the Nets could target ahead of the March 25 trade deadline. Bleacher Report also recommended a few other veterans who could help upgrade the team's defense, including Ed Davis (Minnesota Timberwolves), Bismack Biyombo (Charlotte Hornets), and Nerlens Noel (New York Knicks).