The Lakers are starting to build out their roster now that Kawhi Leonard has made his decision to join the Clippers. After inking Danny Green to a 2-year contract, the Lakers will also reportedly bring back JaVale McGee on a 2-year deal:
I won’t get into JaVale’s game — we know that well enough by now. However, I will say that this contract, while earned based on his production last season, is still a little high and with too much leeway for my taste. If you’re going to pay JaVale ~$4 million a year, make the 2nd year a team option or make a portion of it non guaranteed. If you’re going to give him a player option, make the base salary lower.
This deal, in my opinion, reflects the lack of leverage the Lakers had at this stage of free agency and with the market as diminished as it is. And while the Lakers surely have a comfort level with JaVale which makes coming to an agreement like this easier, I’d imagine if they were in a strong negotiating position, this deal might not look exactly like this.
That said, McGee can help this team. He’s perfectly capable of starting next to Anthony Davis in certain matchups or coming off the bench behind him should that be the better option on that given night. His offensive finishing around the rim is always useful and he does have a defensive presence as a shot-blocker (even if his chasing of those blocks leaves the team vulnerable on the defensive backboards).
In the end, then, I’m fine with McGee coming back even if the contract isn’t to my exact liking.