The Mavericks have signed JaVale McGee, the team announced, as Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com tweets. The team had initiated talks with the center last month, as Shams Charania of RealGM had reported, but it seemed like that door was closed when the Mavs signed Samuel Dalembert and others to bring themselves to 15 fully guaranteed deals. Dallas also had serious concerns about McGee’s health, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, but it appears as though the Mavs are willing to take a risk. The Mavs have been holding on to their $2.814MM room exception, but McGee will see only the minimum in his contract, which covers two years with a team option on the final season, Stein tweets.
The Wasserman Media Group client had reportedly rejected a similar offer from the Celtics late last season, preferring a player option instead. Boston and McGee had seemingly been close to a deal at that point, and plenty of rumors have surrounded the 27-year-old for the past several months as he’s lingered in free agency. The Sixers waived him shortly after acquiring him from the Nuggets at the trade deadline. Philadelphia did so even though McGee still had $12MM coming to him for this season, but the center’s deal with Dallas, which will pay him the seven-year veteran’s minimum of $1,270,964 this season, means the Sixers are eligible to withhold as much as $212,953 via set-off rights.
The Mavericks reportedly held strong interest in McGee this spring after talks with the Celtics fell through, and the Warriors, Raptors, Rockets and Heat were also apparently eyeing him, though reports conflicted on just how much Golden State wanted the former 18th overall pick. The Mavs eventually dropped out of the running, too, and while McGee later reportedly backed off his demand for a player option, no deal materialized until now. Reports indicated that the Celtics appeared ready to jump back in the mix after the end of this past season, the Kings set their sights on him in June, and the Clippers planned to talk with him in July, but it was the revived interest from the Mavs that ultimately lured the 7-footer.
McGee has played in only 28 games after suffering a stress fracture early in the 2013/14 season. He’s nonetheless another contender to start at center for the Mavs, whom DeAndre Jordan notoriously spurned after initially having agreed to sign with them. Dalembert and trade acquisition Zaza Pachulia also appear to be in the mix, with free agent signees Salah Mejri, Jarrid Famous and incumbent Dwight Powell also available at the position.
All the new faces leave the Mavs with only six players eligible for inclusion in a trade, notes former Nets executive Bobby Marks (Twitter link), and that’s troublesome, given that McGee is joining a roster that already featured 15 fully guaranteed salaries. Still, Dallas has shown a willingness to eat guaranteed money in the past, waiving Bernard James and Gal Mekel last fall despite their fully guaranteed salaries. Powell, Famous, Jamil Wilson and Brandon Ashley nonetheless face long odds to make it past the preseason, since their salaries aren’t fully guaranteed.
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