Mavericks sign JaVale McGee

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The Mavericks were reportedly interested in JaVale McGee, and then the Lakers joined the mix.

Dallas got its man – the one who has played just 28 games the last two seasons and has more than his share of mental lapses.

Mavericks release:

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free-agent center JaVale McGee.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Note to Kings: This is how you get value on a talented player who has underachieved and is trying to prove himself. If McGee plays well this season, the Mavericks get him on a minimum contract for next season. If he doesn’t, they don’t have to pay him anything next season. And they’re not paying him $9.5 million this year to find out whether he still has it.

But before looking to 2016-17 McGee must just make this year’s team.

McGee gives Dallas the offseason limit of 20 players. At least 15 – the regular-season roster limit – have fully guaranteed salaries:

  • Wesley Matthews
  • Chandler Parsons
  • Dirk Nowitzki
  • Deron Williams
  • Zaza Pachulia
  • J.J. Barea
  • Devin Harris
  • Raymond Felton
  • Justin Anderson
  • Jeremy Evans
  • John Jenkins
  • Charlie Villanueva
  • Samuel Dalembert
  • Maurice N’Dour
  • Salah Mejri

The other four:

McGee’s guarantee is unclear, as is his place on the roster. Even if McGee’s salary is fully guaranteed, he’ll have to best at least one player in the same boat for a regular-season roster spot.

He’ll compete with Pachulia, Dalembert, Mejri and Famous to fill the center role vacated by DeAndre Jordan. If he’s healthy and focused – two longshots – McGee can help. He’s 7-foot and at least had excellent hops.

There’s nothing wrong with Dallas betting on these longshots. Jordan’s defection left the Mavericks desperate. They’re throwing a bunch of players against the wall and hoping one sticks. McGee makes sense with that strategy.

I’m a bit surprised McGee accepted this deal, though. The 76ers owed him $12 million this season. After Philadelphia’s set-off, McGee will make just an extra $1,043,723 from Dallas. Was that really worth locking himself into a minimum salary for next season – especially because even that isn’t guaranteed? At some point McGee needs to reestablish his viability as an NBA player, but I would have held out for a one-year contract. The fallback would have been sitting and getting paid by the 76ers, not a two-year minimum contract with a team option.

The Mavericks need McGee to make better decisions, but he probably made a poor one merely by signing with them.

McGee remains a paradox.