In the offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers made the decision to trade JaVale McGee to Cleveland so that they could have the cap space to sign Marc Gasol. McGee had started in 130 of 143 games for the purple-and-gold over the last two seasons but McGee is limited offensively, so the team’s front office decided to move on.
However, as the Lakers are missing rim protection, it is possible there might be a little regret with the move.
The Lakers haven’t publicly lamented the decision to trade McGee but it’s clear they have less athleticism and size at center. This led former player turned analyst Kendrick Perkins to call on Los Angeles to re-acquire McGee.
Things could get complicated if the Lakers wanted to bring him back, though. Under NBA rules, the Lakers cannot sign McGee if the Cavaliers were to cut him. They also can’t trade for him directly. Still, Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus broke down how they could make it happen.
If the Lakers do want to bring back McGee, it’s not impossible but it would need a lot of factors to fall into place–beginning with the Cavaliers trading him to a team that would cut him.
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McGee Reunion Probably Isn’t Going to Happen
McGee was definitely a good fit with the Lakers when it came to chemistry. Even when he saw his role diminish in last season’s playoff run, he was still very active on the bench and never hung his head. If he were to come back, he’d be welcomed with open arms.
With all that said, it’s not likely to happen this year. The Cavaliers are off to a decent 5-7 start and are still in the running to get into the playoffs as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. McGee is no longer starting but he is serving as Andre Drummond’s primary backup. Even if Cleveland decided to cut him, the Lakers wouldn’t be able to sign him outright as Pincus pointed out.
There’s a reason that Los Angeles traded McGee away and they probably aren’t highly motivated to go through all these hoops to bring him back.
Lakers Are Doing Just Fine
The Lakers were rumored to be interested in a number of different players ahead of last season’s trade deadline. They didn’t end up pulling the trigger on any big moves and decided to watch the buyout market. This year, the team hasn’t been mentioned in any traded rumors so it seems very likely they’ll stay put again.
Based on how the season is gone, the Lakers don’t need to be too concerned about making a move. Even with the Brooklyn Nets landing James Harden, Los Angeles should still be the favorites to win it all. LeBron James still playing at a high level despite turning 36 last month. Anthony Davis hasn’t been as productive this season but he’s picking things up.
As the season goes on, the Lakers should only get better as the chemistry improves and players become more familiar with each other. Even with a relatively new group, the Lakers rank No. 1 in the NBA in defense and are fourth offensively, according to the NBA’s stats.
They added Dennis Schroder, Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell and Wesley Matthews in the offseason with the expectation they’d all be top contributors. All four of them have shown flashes but they still need time to figure out how they fit. Once those players figure things out, the Lakers are going to be even harder to beat than they are right now.