With star center DeMarcus Cousins potentially heading out of Sacramento via a trade, the Kings have expressed strong interest in free agent big man JaVale McGee, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). McGee previously played for Kings head coach George Karl in Denver, so there is obviously some familiarity between the two sides. There have also been reports of mutual interest between McGee and the Celtics, so the Kings may have some competition for the seven-footer’s services. The Mavs also apparently had serious interest in McGee this spring but later dropped out, and he was also linked to the Rockets, Raptors and Heat.
I would speculate that the Kings could have interest in inking McGee even if Cousins remains with the team. Cousins has indicated his desire to be used at power forward more often, and Sacramento was indeed interested in acquiring a rim-protecting big man at the trade deadline this year. McGee, when he’s healthy and motivated, can certainly be an asset on the defensive end, though he has been plagued by maturity issues throughout his career. It’s unclear just how much the veteran would be seeking on a new contract, and for what length. A sticking point in his negotiations with the Celtics back in March was McGee’s insistence on a player option for 2015/16, though he later backed off of that request, but no deal was ever struck. He could be worth taking a flier on for Sacramento on a short-term, non-guaranteed minimum salary arrangement. It wouldn’t be entirely shocking to see McGee settle for the minimum, since Philadelphia’s obligated to pay $12MM to McGee next season after waiving him shortly after the trade deadline without agreeing to any sort of buyout arrangement.
The 27-year-old put up career lows this past campaign 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 during the 2013/14 season with a stress fracture in his left leg. His career numbers through 382 contests are 8.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks. McGee’s career shooting numbers are .540/.200/.587.