The JaVale McGee experiment with the Dallas Mavericks never panned out. Dallas signed the 35-year-old veteran to a three-year, $17.2 million contract last summer. Within just a few weeks, McGee found himself out of head coach Jason Kidd’s rotation altogether. McGee ended up averaging just 4.4 points in 42 games in Big D.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, this will soon lead to a divorce between the two sides. Stein reports that the Mavericks are expected to waive and stretch McGee, enabling him to hit NBA free agency just ahead of training camps opening up.
McGee still has two years and just under $12 million remaining on his current contract. He’ll hit the open market with multiple contenders in need of a veteran big of his ilk. Below, we look at three ideal landing spots.
Related: Updated 2023-24 NBA power rankings
Golden State Warriors bring back JaVale McGee
This actually seems to be a match made in heaven. McGee played for the dynastic Warriors for two seasons (2016-18), winning back-to-back championships while appearing in a combined 142 games. He has experience in Steve Kerr’s system and played a vital role off the bench during that two-year run.
- JaVale McGee stats (w/ Warriors): 5.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 0.9 BPG, 64% shooting
To say that Golden State has a need here would be an understatement. Kevon Looney (6-foot-9) is the team’s tallest returning player from last season’s underperforming roster. The signing of the 6-foot-10 Dario Saric helps in this regard. But he’s more of your perimeter big at this point. McGee would fit right in at the league minimum in San Francisco.
Los Angeles Lakers add another big man
This would also be a reunion for McGee. He played for the Lakers from 2018-2020. In fact, the big man put up a career-best 12.0 points to go with 7.5 rebounds for the team back in 2018-19. This represented LeBron James’ first season with the Lakers. McGee was one of James’ hand-picked signings that season and earned a title with the Lakers during the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season.
As with the Warriors, there’s a need here. Los Angeles signed former New Orleans Pelicans big Jaxson Hayes during NBA free agency. He’s the only real option to play the traditional five with Anthony Davis. The Lakers have been kicking the tires on another big in Christian Wood. But McGee might actually make more sense.
Oklahoma City Thunder add JaVale McGee
We’ve read rumors that the Thunder are looking to add a center to the mix. Chet Holmgren will hold down the fort after the former lottery pick missed his entire rookie season to injury. After that, there’s not much more to write home about. Heck, even Holmgren and his skillset is not a traditional five.
Fresh off an appearance in the NBA Play-In Tournament, things are pointing in the right direction for the young Thunder. Why not add a stable veteran presence to the mix in the form of McGee ahead of training camp? It just makes too much sense.