According to reports from Shams Charania of The Atheltic, the Dallas Mavericks have signed free-agent center JaVale McGee to a three-year deal worth $20.1 million. Keith Smith of Spotrac reported that he likely received “most, if not all, of the Taxpayer MLE” from Dallas.
It was earlier reported that McGee was seeking a long-term deal, and the Mavericks handed it to them. Their interest in the veteran big man was first revealed by long-time NBA insider Marc Stein, who shed light on the idea a few hours before free agency opened on June 30 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time.
Based on per-36-minute stats, last season was one of the most productive of McGee’s career. He suited up for the Phoenix Suns and helped them reach the second round of the playoffs, where they were, ironically, eliminated by the Mavericks.
At 34 years old, McGee is in the twilight of his career, he’s been a very effective, fringe-starter big man for his entire time in the NBA. Based on the number he’ll be getting from the Mavericks, he should have a prominent role in their rotation.
In fact, it has been reported that McGee will be their starting center.
McGee Reveals Starter Status With Mavericks
According to Tim MacMahon of ESPN, McGee has revealed that he will be the starting center for the Mavericks for the upcoming season. He will be reuniting with multiple familiar faces in Dallas as he starts for another team hoping to contend for a title.
“JaVale McGee told ESPN that he expects to be Dallas’ starting center. He will reunite with head coach Jason Kidd and assistant coach Jared Dudley, who were part of a Lakers’ title run with McGee,” MacMahon tweeted.
Since he’s getting up there in age, it makes sense that McGee would be looking for a multi-year deal. However, based on the numbers he put up for the Suns this past season, it makes sense that the Mavericks are confident enough in his abilities as their starter.
McGee averaged 9.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks in 15.8 minutes per game. He shot 62.9% from the field. His per-36 numbers were even more impressive, though. Per-36, McGee averaged an impressive 20.9 points, 15.2 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game.
Dallas now has a jam-packed big man rotation. With McGee slated to be their starter, they also have Christian Wood, who they just acquired earlier this summer, Dwight Powell, and Maxi Kleber under contract. That’s a solid squad, but adding McGee could also allow the Mavericks to trade Powell’s expiring deal.
The details of McGee’s contract are important, though, as it leaves the Mavericks with enough room to make way for another signing.
McGee Contract Leaves Room For Rookie
As noted by Stein and Smith, this contract should leave the Mavericks with enough room to accommodate second-round rookie Jaden Hardy.
Smith noted that the”Mavs will presumably leave enough of the Tax MLE to give rookie Jaden Hardy a three-year deal,” and when the McGee rumors were initially reported before free agency opened, Stein stated that “Dallas must commit some of its $6.4 million taxpayers’ mid-level exception to signing rookie guard Jaden Hardy to a multi-year deal.”
With Jalen Brunson presumably skipping town in favor of the New York Knicks, Hardy could end up playing a bigger role than anticipated in his rookie season.