JaVale McGee

Northwest Rumors: Wolves, Gobert, Murray, Beasley, Brown, Micic

Thursday’s agreement with Kyle Anderson will give the Timberwolves 15 players under contract, but they’re not done with offseason moves, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Minnesota remains in the market for another big man and has talked to the Jazz about Rudy Gobert, sources tell Krawczynski.

Although the Wolves used a first-round pick on Auburn’s Walker Kessler, they want to add a veteran center so there’s not too much pressure on Kessler to produce right away. They were interested in free agents JaVale McGee and Isaiah Hartenstein, but they both reached deals with other teams Thursday night.

Minnesota’s talks with Utah about Gobert began before the draft, but the Jazz are asking a lot in return for their perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate. If the Wolves can’t work out a trade for Gobert, Krawczynski cites the PacersMyles Turner and the HawksClint Capela as other options, although he adds that Minnesota’s talks with Atlanta haven’t gotten very far.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves talked to the Spurs about Dejounte Murray but weren’t willing to meet the asking price, Krawczynski confirms. There was also skepticism that Murray would re-sign with Minnesota once his contract expires in two years.
  • Teams have been making calls to gather background info on Timberwolves wing Malik Beasley, but no deal is imminent, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Beasley, who will make $15.45MM next season, carries a team option for his $16.52MM salary in 2023/24.
  • Bruce Brown possibly could have made more than the $13+ million he’ll receive from the Nuggets over the next two years, but he believes he’s entering a good situation in Denver, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). A source tells Reynolds that “fit” was more important to Brown than money.
  • Vasilije Micic‘s representatives are pressing the Thunder to trade him, but Oklahoma City isn’t willing to give the European star up cheaply, according to Aris Barkas of EuroHoops. The Nuggets, Bucks, Bulls and Spurs have all expressed interest in Micic, Barkas hears.

Mavericks, JaVale McGee Agree To Three-Year Contract

The Mavericks have been adding some size this offseason. After trading for big man Christian Wood earlier this month, Dallas is set to sign journeyman veteran center JaVale McGee to a three-year contract, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets that the deal is a three-year, $20.1MM agreement, and the final season is a player option.

That figure suggests the Mavs are using their full taxpayer mid-level exception on McGee, but Marc Stein tweets that the team intends to preserve some of that MLE to sign second-round pick Jaden Hardy to a three-year contract. If that’s the case, McGee’s three-year deal will be worth about $17.2MM, tweets Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype.

McGee expects to start at the five for Dallas, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). MacMahon adds that this signing will reunite McGee with former Lakers comrades Jason Kidd, now the Mavericks’ head coach, and Dallas assistant coach Jared Dudley. Kidd served as an assistant coach under Frank Vogel and Dudley was a reserve on a title-winning 2020 Los Angeles team along with McGee.

The seven-footer, a three-time NBA champion, raved about his on-court fit with Mavericks All-Star guard Luka Doncic. “I saw some opportunities out there where I was like, ‘Oh yeah, if they had a rolling big, they could dominate in a different aspect,'” McGee said.

After being selected with the No. 18 pick by the Wizards out of Nevada in 2008, the seven-footer flashed plenty of promise with Washington as a hyper-athletic, rim-rolling center, but was ultimately dealt to the Nuggets in 2012. He was re-signed to a pricey extension in Denver, only to be dealt again, this time to the Sixers, in 2015.

McGee then enjoyed an initial one-year stint with Dallas during the 2015/16 season. He only really blossomed as one of the best low-usage centers in the league after signing with the Warriors in 2017, winning two titles with a star-studded Golden State franchise. McGee then joined the Lakers in 2018, eventually winning his third championship in 2020. The Lakers sent him to the Cavaliers during the following offseason, before he was dealt to the Nuggets and once again became a valuable reserve on a playoff contender. He spent last-season with yet another starry postseason club, the 64-win Suns, on a one-year, $5MM deal.

In 74 games with Phoenix, McGee averaged 9.2 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 1.1 BPG across just 15.8 MPG. The 34-year-old connected on an excellent 62.9% of his 6.2 field goals per night.

Western Notes: McGee, Towns, Wiseman, Williamson, Trent Jr.

JaVale McGee could wind up with another Western Conference contender next season. The Mavericks are very interested in the veteran free agent center and could offer him the two-year deal he’s seeking, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM tweets. McGee, 34, averaged 9.2 PPG and 6.7 RPG for the Suns last season while appearing in 74 regular season contests.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The biggest priority for the Timberwolves this summer is to lock up Karl-Anthony Towns with an extension, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reports. Towns is eligible for an extension of up to four years and roughly $211MM. “I can’t wait to sit down with him and his representation ASAP and keep this thing going,” new president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said. “He’s special and deserves everything that is going to come his way.”
  • James Wiseman would actually benefit if the Warriors are able to re-sign free agent Kevon Looney, Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Their skill sets would mesh as the team’s center duo and it would ease the pressure on Wiseman, allowing him to focus on his development.
  • The Pelicans’ extension talks with Zion Williamson could take some time to sort out, as Christian Clark of the New Orleans Times Picayune explains. The two sides need to figure out is how much of the extension will be fully guaranteed. Clark’s sources believe there is a possibility that negotiations could drag on longer than anticipated due of this issue. Williamson sat out last season due to a foot injury.
  • The Jazz have expressed interest in Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr., according to Ian Begley of SNY TV. Trent’s cap hit for next season is $17.5MM and he has an $18.5+MM option for 2023/24. He averaged 18.3 PPG in 35 MPG last season.

Free Agency Rumors: Monk, Oladipo, McGee, Mills, Hartenstein

On a Spotify Live appearance with Marc Stein, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said he has heard there’s mutual interest between the Kings and Malik Monk in free agency (hat tip to Talkin’ NBA). Monk played college ball at Kentucky with De’Aaron Fox, so there’s obviously a connection between the two athletic guards.

Monk had a career-year in his first season with the Lakers last season, averaging 13.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG and 2.9 APG on .473/.391/.795 shooting in 76 games (37 starts, 28.1 MPG). He’s reportedly looking for a role where he can receive significant minutes and “be himself,” as he told Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

The Kings could offer Monk the mid-level exception, projected to be worth about $10.5MM next season, which is significantly more than the Lakers can offer (taxpayer MLE — $6.5MM).

Here are more rumors ahead of free agency, which kicks off in less than 17 hours:

  • Fischer also reports (hat tip to Talkin’ NBA) that in addition to Denver, Detroit and Washington, the Bulls are in the mix for Victor Oladipo. Fischer previously wrote that Oladipo was unlikely to remain with Miami.
  • John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Phoenix hears (via Twitter) that Suns backup center JaVale McGee is looking for a multiyear deal, with the Bucks, Mavericks and Nets interested in his services. Gambadoro adds that he’s unsure if Phoenix would go for a two-year deal to re-sign McGee, who was highly productive (9.2 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 1.1 BPG) in a reserve role with the Suns last season (74 games, 15.8 MPG).
  • Patty Mills is expected to draw “significant interest” on the free agent market after declining his player option, but he hasn’t ruled out a return to the Nets, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Brian Lewis of The New York Post hears Mills and his wife enjoyed their time in Brooklyn, but it’s possible he could get a more lucrative offer elsewhere.
  • Sources tell Marc Stein (via Twitter) that Isaiah Hartenstein hasn’t ruled out a return to the Clippers, stating that it’s “well-known among rival teams” with interest in the center that he might re-sign with Los Angeles. Lewis hears similarly, with sources close to the 24-year-old telling The Post that “he loves” playing for the Clips. The main issue is the Clippers are reportedly using their taxpayer MLE to sign John Wall, so they’ll be extremely limited in what they can offer Hartenstein. Stein previously reported that the Magic are the “leading suitor” for Hartenstein, who has also been linked to the Bulls, Raptors and Rockets.

Rockets Notes: Free Agent Targets, Burke, Gordon, Draft

The Rockets will target a backup center when free agency opens at the end of the month, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The team is short on reliable big men after agreeing to trade Christian Wood to the Mavericks, and although Houston will receive Boban Marjanovic in the deal, the front office plans to explore other options on the free agent market.

Feigen identifies Nic Claxton as one possibility, saying the Nets likely wouldn’t match a full mid-level exception offer (starting at $10MM+) because of luxury tax concerns. Claxton was a part-time starter this season and put up career-best numbers with 8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per night.

Other free agents that Feigen mentions include former Rocket Isaiah Hartenstein, Andre Drummond, Mason Plumlee, Mo Bamba, Hassan Whiteside, JaVale McGee and Dewayne Dedmon. After a promising rookie year, Alperen Sengun is expected to be Houston’s starting center next season.

There’s more on the Rockets:

  • As expected, Mavericks guard Trey Burke has officially exercised his $3.3MM player option for next season, which is necessary for the Wood trade to be finalized, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. The deal still can’t be announced until after Dallas picks at No. 26 on Thursday because the Mavs owe a protected 2023 first-round pick to New York.
  • In his latest piece for Substack, Marc Stein confirms that the Rockets are shopping veteran guard Eric Gordon in hopes of getting a first-round pick in return. Houston also tried to move Gordon at the trade deadline, but couldn’t find an acceptable offer. The 33-year-old will make $19.57MM next season and a non-guaranteed $20.92MM in 2023/24.
  • In a separate story, Feigen examines the information the Rockets use when evaluating draft prospects. The team was among the first to embrace analytics under former general manager Daryl Morey, but current GM Rafael Stone admits there are many times when the numbers don’t match what talent evaluators believe they’re seeing. “There are so many different tools you can look at,” he said. “If you like a particular stat a majority of the time it can easily lie to you in individual instances. You don’t just go back to work with video. You can back to work with the whole thing. It gives you hints about what you need to study more with a particular player.”

Western Notes: McGee, Doncic, Brunson, Mavs, Williamson

Veteran center and unrestricted free agent JaVale McGee said he’s interested in re-signing with the Suns this offseason, according to Kellan Olson of ArizonaSports.com.

“Definitely consider it, definitely consider an opportunity,” McGee said. “At this point in my career, I’m definitely focused on myself and what’s best for me and my situation and my family. I know what I bring to a team if it’s any organization that I go to. For me, that’s what it’s all about. Make sure I’m valuing myself as much as the team (is) valuing me.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Luka Doncic will be informed of potential roster moves via frequent contact with head coach Jason Kidd, owner Mark Cuban, GM Nico Harrison and assistant GM Michael Finley, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News reports. Doncic will not be taking it easy this summer. He’ll start practicing with the Slovenian National Team on June 15 ahead of World Cup qualifying matches against Croatia (June 30) and Sweden (July 3). He’ll re-join the national team in August to prepare for EuroBasket, which begins Sept. 1 in Cologne, Germany.
  • Doncic wants free agent Jalen Brunson to remain his backcourt partner, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News writes. “The step – the huge leap – he took this year was unbelievable,” Doncic said. “And he’s going to deserve all the money he gets.” The Mavericks have made their desire to retain Brunson known but they also want to acquire a quality big man — a rebounder and rim-protector. “That’s no secret. We know we got beat up on the boards,” Harrison said after the conference finals.
  • Zion Williamson no longer has any restrictions from his foot injury. So how will he fit in with a Pelicans team that showed vast improvement in the second half of the season? Will Guillory of The Athletic takes a closer look at that topic.

Pacific Notes: Booker, McGee, Wiggins, Moon, Ranadive

The Suns were an NBA-best 64-18 during the regular season and are currently up 2-0 in their second-round series against Dallas. After Phoenix lost to Milwaukee in the Finals last season, it would have been easy to have a letdown, but Devin Booker says he’s driven to help the Suns win their first championship.

I have shifted that energy from losing the Finals in a good way,” Booker told Marc J. Spears of Andscape. “It’s a good segue in the locker room to talk about and motivate. We talk about the details of the game. Even [the Pelicans’ series], offensive rebounding doesn’t sit with us well because it’s the reason why we lost [games]. Winning a championship is something I want more than anything in my life.

“… I dreamed about [the Finals] as a kid. But now it’s a reality and I have to make it happen.”

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Cydney Henderson of USA Today details JaVale McGee‘s evolution into a valuable role player for three championship teams — and possibly a fourth, if the Suns win the title. The backup center believes he was the missing piece to Phoenix’s championship puzzle. “They were the best team last year, they just lost in the Finals,” said McGee. “They need one more piece and I’m that piece. I feel it, this that year.”
  • Andrew Wiggins is thriving in his new role as a small-ball power forward for the Warriors, writes Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. “I mean, it’s not easy, obviously,” Wiggins said, “because 99 percent of the time, I’m smaller. But I feel like I’m just as strong and athletic as anyone else. I love fighting with guys. I love the physicality down there. I feel like it just gets you going. You gotta wake up for this. You can’t just ease into it. If you ease into it, those guys are gonna push you under the rim and bury you.”
  • Xavier Moon, who finished the season on a two-way contract with the Clippers, said in an interview with Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times that he’s going to work on getting stronger this summer in an effort to stick in the NBA. “Just my body. Improving my body, getting stronger, obviously add a little weight and that will help with every aspect of my game and other than that just being a student of the game, just learning to be an NBA point guard, facilitating and knowing when and where to score,” Moon said.
  • Can Kings owner Vivek Ranadive learn from his meddling mistakes of the past and let GM Monte McNair make the final call on the team’s new head coach? James Ham of The Kings Beat explores that question and delves into Ranadive’s history of involvement in prior front office/coaching moves.

Suns Notes: Paul, Payne, McGee, Ayton, Sarver

Suns head coach Monty Williams enjoyed being involved in the All-Star festivities over the weekend, leading Team LeBron to a 163-160 victory in Sunday’s contest. However, he didn’t let the event distract him from preparing for life without Chris Paul after the break, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic writes. The All-NBA guard is expected to miss at least six-to-eight weeks due to a fractured thumb.

“Naturally, you have to,” Williams said of preparing to play for Paul’s absence. “I’ve had meetings with our coaches about what we’re going to do going forward. Different lineups. Rotations. How we’re going to play. Chris is a huge part of what we do. And so we’re not going to try to replace him. We’re just going to try to play the same way and keep our standard at a high level and I’m grateful for the depth that we.”

Examining the impact of Paul’s injury on the Suns, Cole Huff of The Athletic suggests it might not be a disaster for the team. Huff believes Phoenix – which has a 6.5-game lead for the West’s No. 1 seed – can hang onto the top spot in the West, and points out that even if Paul’s absence extends into the first round of the playoffs, the team would still be heavy favorites against a No. 8 seed.

Here are a few more notes on the Suns:

  • After previously reporting that the Suns expected Cameron Payne to return from his right wrist injury in the first game after the All-Star break, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link) now says the veteran point guard may need a few more days before he’s back on the court. With both Payne and Paul sidelined, Devin Booker, Aaron Holiday, and Elfrid Payton figure to take on more ball-handling responsibilities.
  • Noting that JaVale McGee and Deandre Ayton have been two of the NBA’s most effective pick-and-roll big men so far this season, Zach Harper of The Athletic wonders how their production might be affected with Paul not in the lineup.
  • Speaking to reporters at All-Star Weekend, NBA commissioner Adam Silver didn’t provide an update on the league’s investigation into Suns owner Robert Sarver, simply stating that it’s “ongoing.” However, general manager James Jones said he believes the probe should be completed “soon,” Rankin writes for The Arizona Republic.

COVID-19 Updates: Hachimura, Roby, Grizzlies, Bucks, Robsinon, Suns, Nance, Hawks

Wizards power forward Rui Hachimura has exited the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, though an exact timeline for his return to the court has yet to be determined, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Hachimura, 23, has missed the entirety of the Wizards’ 37-game 2021/22 NBA season thus far, due to a combination of an extended personal absence and subsequently his stint in the protocols. The 6’8″ big man is averaging 13.7 PPG and 5.8 RPG across his two seasons with Washington thus far.

Here are more protocol-related updates from across the league:

  • Young Thunder reserve center Isaiah Roby has entered the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols, per Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman (Twitter link).
  • Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks and guard De’Anthony Melton have cleared the NBA’s coronavirus protocols but remain questionable ahead of tomorrow’s game against the Pistons as they continue to re-condition, while forward Kyle Anderson has also cleared protocols but will most likely not play due to back soreness, according to Memphis’s PR team (Twitter link).
  • Bucks forwards Jordan Nwora, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, and Semi Ojeleye have exited the league’s COVID-19 protocols and are available for a short-handed Milwaukee team tonight against the Raptors, per Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). We first mentioned earlier today that that triumvirate of Bucks players was nearing a return. Through the game’s first half, Nwora is the only one of the three that has played.
  • $90MM Heat shooting guard Duncan Robinson has exited the NBA’s coronavirus protocols and will reunite with the team in Portland ahead of its game against the Trail Blazers tonight, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The team has announced that Robinson will play (Twitter link).
  • Suns centers Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee, along with starting power forward Jae Crowder, have all cleared COVID-19 health and safety protocols but will remain sidelined for Thursday’s home contest against the Clippers as they work their way back into game shape, reports Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic.
  • Trail Blazers forward Larry Nance Jr. has cleared the league’s coronavirus protocols and will be available to play tonight against the Kings, per Aaron J. Fentress of the Oregonian (Twitter link). We had first noted earlier today that Nance had registered an inconclusive COVID-19 test and that a quick return was a possibility.
  • Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic and small forward Jalen Johnson have exited health and safety protocols, writes Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Spencer says the two players are expected to consult with Atlanta’s medical staff in Los Angeles ahead of the team’s games against the Lakers and Clippers on Friday and Sunday. Spencer adds that Johnson struggled a bit with the coronavirus and could need additional conditioning time.

COVID-19 Updates: McGee, Buchanan, Hill, Wanamaker, More

JaVale McGee is the latest Suns player to enter the NBA’s health and safety protocols, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic writes. McGee joined Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder, and Abdel Nader in the protocols on Thursday evening.

On the plus side, the Suns did get Elfrid Payton out of the protocols for the second time this week — Payton was placed in the protocols on Sunday and Wednesday, but quickly cleared both times, so it’s possible he has registered multiple false positive tests in recent days.

Here are a few more protocol-related updates from around the league:

  • Shaq Buchanan, signed by the Grizzlies as a hardship replacement player, has now entered the health and safety protocols himself, according to the team (Twitter link). Buchanan’s 10-day deal runs through Tuesday night, so it may expire before he clears the protocols.
  • The Hawks‘ COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread, as Malcolm Hill – a 10-day hardship addition – has entered the protocols, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Hill, who had appeared in three games since signing with the team last Wednesday, is one of a dozen Atlanta players in the protocols.
  • Brad Wanamaker signed a 10-day deal with the Wizards on Wednesday, recorded seven points and seven assists in his first game with the club on Thursday, and has now entered the health and safety protocols on Friday, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. He’s one of seven Wizards players affected.
  • Kenyon Martin Jr. exited the COVID-19 protocols and practiced with the Rockets on Thursday, says Danielle Lerner of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).
  • We continue to update our health and safety protocols tracker several times per day. It can be found right here.