Since his college days at Nevada, the high-flying center has been a human highlight reel with ferocious dunks and blocks that are nearly impossible to replicate.
Javale McGee has had his fair share of ups and downs in his professional playing career that has led to the main question at hand: What price should the Wizards pay to keep him, if they should at all?
In order to answer this question it is important to analyze McGee’s worth based on both his flaws and his contributions.
McGee has matured through several of his growing pains, pointedly the fight at a D.C. nightclub with teammate Andray Blatche and his penchant for being overly goofy off the court—while sometimes lacking seriousness on the court.
Despite his shortcomings in maturity and basketball IQ, McGee has slowly developed into a double-double threat on a nightly basis—while also being one of the top-shot blockers in the league.
This season especially, McGee has made an effort to establish and improve upon post moves instead of relying on dunks and offensive putbacks for the bulk of his offensive contributions.
With this being the last season of his rookie deal, GM Ernie Grunfeld has come out and said that the Wizards will match offers for McGee in restricted free agency.
In order to determine the proper value of a starting center with his skills and athleticism, I have looked at the deal (four year, $42 million dollar) that fellow center DeAndre Jordan received from the Clippers this past offseason.
Both centers put up similar block numbers and are physically similar in pretty much every regard. However, McGee has put up slightly better numbers across the board without having a player of Blake Griffin’s caliber next to him to alleviate the pressure in the paint.
McGee’s slow ability to pick up seemingly simple nuances of the game have put doubt in everyone’s minds about whether he will ever be able to realize his full potential.
Keeping all of this in mind, I believe that the Wizards should match any offer up to four years and $45 million.
This follows the trend set by the contract signed by DeAndre Jordan last year for a player in McGee, who I believe has the higher potential down the road.
A four-year deal with a team option for the fifth year would make the most sense—as McGee will only be 29 years old when the deal would end.
Quality starting centers are at a premium in the NBA right now. To hold onto a player of McGee’s ability through his “prime” years would be a statement by the organization that they intend to reward homegrown talent, while beginning to solidify a core around John Wall for the future.