After a steady decline in his minutes and stats over the past seven seasons, JaVale McGee got an opportunity to shine on the Los Angeles Lakers and made the absolute most out of it. Averaging a career-high 12 points per game to go along with two blocks per game, McGee had a renaissance season which he looks to parlay into a better deal as he hits the free agent market.
JaVale McGee Lakers: Should Los Angeles Re-Sign the Athletic Big?
As long as the money is reasonable, absolutely yes. McGee showed that he can either work as an elite caliber big man off the bench, or a very competent starter playing alongside LeBron James and Lonzo Ball. Possessing a nearly unmatched level of athleticism for his size, the Lakers’ heaps of playmakers love taking advantage of McGee’s ability to get down the court quickly and play above the rim.
More than just offering an easy safety valve down low on offense, McGee showed that he has some of the best rim-protection skills in the league when given significant time on the court to get into a rhythm. While McGee is still prone to the occasional mental mistake down low, there is no denying his ability to patrol the rim and send shots back.
JaVale McGee Lakers: How Much Would he Cost to Re-Sign?
The Lakers had McGee on an extremely team-friendly “prove it” deal for the veteran’s minimum. Coming off his time in Golden State where he was only sparingly used, McGee didn’t really have much leverage in terms of contract negotiations heading into free agency. However, after his strong year with the Lakers that saw him increase production across the board, McGee should be in line for at least a decent pay bump this offseason.
McGee is 31 and on the back nine of his NBA career, as a result, it shouldn’t cost an overly large amount of money to keep him around. Especially considering how well he operates as a rim-protector and rim roller alongside James in the Lakers system, it might be wise for the Lakers to try and lock up McGee on a multi-year deal at an affordable cost.
At his peak, McGee was making $12 million a year from the Philadelphia 76ers on the back end of a fairly lucrative deal he signed with the Nuggets prior to the 2012-2013 season and while he is coming off a career-best year in scoring, his age should help offset the asking price for his production.