JaVale McGee Backs Off Player Option Demand

JaVale McGee now prefers a deal that carries only through the end of the season, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, who writes in his weekly power rankings. That indicates a turnabout from earlier this month, when he was reportedly seeking a player option for 2015/16 on any deal. That was apparently at the root of failed negotiations with the Celtics, who wanted a team option. Most of the contending teams reportedly inquired about the B.J. Armstrong client earlier this month, and, as Spears reports today, McGee still wants to play for a postseason contender.

It’s unclear if the lack of an insistence on a player option will spark a renewed interest, as chatter about the 27-year-old has slowed considerably after a brief period in which he seemed a prime target following his release from the Sixers. The Mavs were “seriously interested” a few weeks ago, as Marc Stein of reported then, but Spears reported last week that they were no longer in pursuit. The Rockets, Raptors and Heat also appeared to be teams in the mix for McGee at the time of the strong interest from Dallas, but even at that point, there was “no way” the Raptors would cross the tax line to sign him, according to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.

While Houston, Miami and Toronto likely wouldn’t go over the tax threshold for this season with a multiyear arrangement for the minimum salary, a one-year deal reduces McGee’s cost if he signs for the minimum. That’s because the league would cover the difference between the two-year veteran’s minimum and the minimum for a six-year veteran like McGee if the contract only covered a single season. It would mean a savings of $32,533 for this season for a team that signs him to a one-year minimum deal instead of a two-year minimum deal, and it would come with the cost certainty of knowing that McGee couldn’t force the team to pay him a salary for next season, too.

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