The Dallas Mavericks waived center JaVale McGee on Friday as they attempt to finalize their roster amid a whirlwind summer.
McGee, 28, averaged 5.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 34 games last season. His playing time was intermittent throughout the year, peaking in late December/early January before essentially ceasing altogether after the All-Star break.
Zaza Pachulia, David Lee, Salah Mejri and Dwight Powell took up the Mavericks' non-Dirk Nowitzki big-man minutes. Powell re-upped this offseason on a four-year contract, and Dallas replaced the departing Pachulia by trading for Andrew Bogut.
The team's decision essentially came down to whether it would prefer to guarantee Mejri or McGee's contract for next season. Given Mejri unseated McGee in the rotation and is making slightly less money ($1.4 million to $874,636), the decision was a no-brainer.
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Once considered one of the most promising young big men in the league, McGee's career has spiraled amid issues with injuries and basic basketball IQ. His career highlights are going to have as many Shaqtin' A Fool Hall of Fame moments as slam dunks or blocks. While the boneheaded plays made him frustrating to coach, it's the injuries that have threatened his career.
McGee has played in just 62 games total since the 2012-13 season. He suffered a stress fracture to his left tibia in November 2013 and struggled to return from the injury for two full years.
“It was extremely frustrating not knowing if I was ever going to play again,” McGee said last November, per Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram. “It was to that point when I got bought out by Philly, just because we just didn’t know what to expect and things were taking a while.”
Now seemingly healthy, McGee faces another crossroads. His per-36 stats (16.7 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.5 blocks) look great but were put up in a lot of garbage time. He has still never learned the finer points on defense and doesn't do much except rim run and dunk offensively.
It's possible another team takes a chance on him—he's still just 28 years old, after all—but it may take well into August.
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