JaVale McGee has battled a stress fracture and other leg injuries for a couple of seasons now — he has played just 28 games over two years. When he has gotten on the court, he has not been near the same athletic — and entertaining — player.
Which leads to the biggest question about McGee with the Dallas Mavericks for this coming season: Will he be healthy enough to contribute? Or even make the roster?
“That was one of the major things about (signing with the Mavericks),” McGee confessed. “With how good the training staff is and all the training materials that they have and other teams don’t have, it’s definitely a good thing.
“I’m definitely getting back to that elite level. The injuries really slowed me down, so I’m definitely going to get 100 percent healthy and come out and give it my all.”
He’s going to need to be 100 percent and show that old form to make the team. Dallas has ZaZa Pachulia, Samuel Dalembert and Salah Mejri all on the roster with guaranteed contracts to play center next season.
Vintage McGee, for all his Shaqtin’ a Fool flaws, is far more athletic and a better rim protector than any of those — that McGee would make this roster despite the depth at the five. I hope he makes it, the league is more fun with him in it.
This is a low-risk move for Dallas — McGee agreed to a two-year deal at the veteran minimum (team option in the second year), he doesn’t cost much if he proves to be healthy. If he’s not that McGee, it costs $500,000 to let him go before the season starts (half that if they dump him before training camp even opens).
Brandon Armstrong does Manu Ginobili impression — and Manu loves it
The Clippers have an improved front line rotation. Of course Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will start (and get the most minutes), but now behind them will come Josh Smith and Cole Aldrich. Brenden Dawson is in the mix. Plus, Paul Pierce can play some four (and Griffin some five) if the Clippers want to go small and run even more. Doc Rivers has options.
Does Rivers need Glen Davis, too?
Big Baby has been mulling playing overseas, but his people and the Clippers are still talking, reports Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
Clippers remain interested in Glen Davis returning. Doc Rivers spoke with Baby's reps earlier this week. No deal yet, however. Per source.
The Clippers have 14 guaranteed contracts on the books (Dallas has a full 15, they would be offering a partially guaranteed deal as they did JaVale McGee). Many teams leave the 15th slot open, allowing them flexibility in trades and signings as the season goes forward.
Do the Clippers need one more big at the end of the bench more than that flexibility? Davis averaged 12.2 minutes a game last season, and that would drop to spot duty this season — Davis would be at the end of the bench and out of the regular rotation. That’s where he lands on most rosters at this point in his career — he’s the “break glass in case of emergency” big.
But for now, Doc and the Clippers are still thinking about it.
Watch Dallas’ Salah Mejri shut down Portland’s Al Farouq Amimu at Afrobasket
Right now, AfroBasket 2015 is taking place in Tunisia, with the best teams on the continent playing for a berth in the Rio Olympics next summer.
Maybe the play of the tournament so far — watch Dallas’ big man Salah Mejri shut down Portland’s Al Farouq Aminu at the rim. That seemed to set the tone for the game as Tunisia went on to win and advance out of group play with an unblemished record.
Aminu is going to be fighting for minutes and a chance to prove himself in Portland.
Mejri (who played last season for powerhouse Real Madrid) has a guaranteed contract and with that almost certainly makes the Dallas roster. However, he will end up battling guys like JaVale McGee and Samuel Dalembert for minutes if they make the roster. If Mejri makes more plays like that, he’ll be just fine.
JaVale McGee wants to come back to the NBA on his terms. And he’s in no rush to do it.
McGee is looking for a deal for this season only (or a player option for next season) while the interested teams want a team option for next season so they can have the ability to retain him at a fair price. McGee is getting his full salary this season and next ($23 million total) from Philadephia after the Sixers bought him out. (He was acquired in a trade deadline deal.)
The Mavericks have lost interest in free-agent center JaVale McGee and aren’t seeking any more roster additions, a source told Yahoo Sports.
Reportedly the Rockets, Heat, Celtics and Raptors still all have some level of interest.
He could help those teams. McGee, for all his numerous flaws, is an athletic big man who can be solid to brilliant in a limited role. He can block shots, run the floor and get a team some points and boards. He would be the kind of reserve big man who would be a good bench boost to just about any playoff team, especially on a minimum deal.
The fact that he is still out there speaks to a combination of his demands and chemistry concerns on the parts of teams around the league.
Still, expect him to sign somewhere in the coming weeks.