The notion of JaVale McGee and the Celtics circling back to negotiate a deal this summer isn’t out of the question after the sides failed to close on a contract in early March, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. Boston wouldn’t be able to sign him until after the July Moratorium, and it would be surprising if the Celtics prioritized him, but it appears as though there’s an opportunity for the 7-footer to return to the NBA after he went unsigned following his release from the Sixers.
Blakely suggests that a two-year deal with a player option for 2016/17 would be in order, though it’s not entirely clear if that’s merely speculation. Negotiations between the Celtics and the B.J. Armstrong client this past season reportedly fell apart over McGee’s insistence on a player option for 2015/16, though weeks later the center backed off the idea that he had to have a player option wherever he signed.
The Celtics have only about $40.4MM committed for next season, so they can open significant cap room, though doing so would wipe out the team’s copious trade exceptions. Still, it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to see McGee settle for the minimum, since Philadelphia’s obligated to $12MM for McGee next season after waiving him shortly after the trade deadline without striking any sort of buyout arrangement.
The Mavs apparently had serious interest in McGee this spring but later dropped out, and he was also linked to the Rockets, Raptors and Heat. The Sixers acquired him along with a protected first-round pick from the Nuggets at the deadline. The 27-year-old put up career lows this season in several categories, including his 11.1 minutes per game across 23 appearances split between Denver and Philadelphia as he struggled to regain his health after missing all but five games last season with a stress fracture in his left leg.