Salah Mejri

JaVale McGee says he’s close to healthy, will be ready for season

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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?

McGee told Mavs.com he would be, and that part of the reason he chose to sign with Dallas in the first place was the training staff.

“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).

Watch Dallas’ Salah Mejri shut down Portland’s Al Farouq Amimu at Afrobasket

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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.

Hat tip Jeff Taylor.