The Nuggets wanted to dump JaVale McGee so badly, they attached a first rounder just to unload him.
The 76ers didn’t want him either, waiving him just before the deadline for him to join a playoff roster.
A number of championship contenders were reportedly interested in McGee, but this time, the ball was in his court and he didn’t want them.
Jeff Goodman of ESPN:
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The Celtics still had the full bi-annual exception, which starts at $2.077 million. Or, if they wanted to save that for next year and could get McGee for less, they also had $2.027 million left of their mid-level exception.
Presumably, McGee will get on the higher end of that range with a sizable, if not full, guarantee for next season. Otherwise, why not sign with a contender?
McGee hasn’t been a useful player in two years. Even when making some positive contributions, he’s frequently – though delightfully – out of control. He’s 27 and injuries have already begun to rack up for the 7 footer.
So why did the Celtics do this? McGee’s size, athleticism and untapped potential still draw intrigue. Boston needs a rim protector, and McGee has – or at least – had the tools to provide that. Danny Ainge is showing a lot of faith in the franchise’s culture and Brad Stevens’ ability to maximize McGee’s production.
Even if the Celtics paid the most they had available, this is a relatively low-risk deal. Still, it’s not without some consequence. Whatever they guarantee McGee for next season cuts into their ability to chase free agents like Kevin Love and Greg Monroe.
More immediately, the Celtics are just two games out of playoff position. If all goes well, McGee could contribute down the stretch, and he’d be eligible for the postseason roster.