Report: Mavericks signing JaVale McGee to three-year, $20M contract

JaVale McGee in 2022 NBA Playoffs - Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks
Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Losing guard Jalen Brunson to the Knicks, the Mavericks had the $6,479,000 taxpayer mid-level exception to find a replacement.

Or to use on center JaVale McGee.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

McGee could get up to $20,408,850 over three years through the taxpayer MLE.

This is a questionable use of resources by the Mavericks.

They just traded for Christian Wood, who appeared in line to start at center. Perhaps, Wood – who can shoot to space the floor – will start at power forward in a big lineup. Or maybe Wood will come off the bench. Dallas also still has Dwight Powell at center and Maxi Kleber, whose play as a small-ball center unlocked the Mavericks’ best lineups in the playoffs.

McGee played well for the Suns last season. He also helped the Warriors (2017 and 2018) and Lakers (2019) win three straight titles before that. McGee should fit nicely as a lob threat with Luka Doncic. His defensive awareness sharpened, McGee also helps as a rim protector.

But McGee didn’t crack the Nuggets’ playoff rotation just last year. He’s now 34 and can’t be counted on to maintain the production he had in Phoenix – especially over such a long contract. The NBA is oversaturated with solid centers, driving down their values.

Sans Brunson, Dallas could’ve used more help on the perimeter. Apparently, the Mavericks are content with Spencer Dinwiddie and Tim Hardaway Jr. taking larger roles.

Dallas using the full taxpayer MLE on McGee also leaves only a one- or two-year minimum contract for No. 37 pick Jaden Hardy. With such a high-upside player, it might have been nice to lock in Hardy for three years and get full Bird Rights.

The Suns could miss McGee as their backup center. But they have bigger fish to fry with their starting center – Deandre Aytonin restricted free agency.