JaVale McGee, Lakers Agree to Contract After Kawhi Leonard Joins Clippers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 4: JaVale McGee (7) of the Los Angeles Lakers goes for the dunk during a game against the Golden State Warriors on April 4, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chris Elise/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers and center JaVale McGee came to terms Saturday on a two-year, $8.2 million contract.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported details of the deal—which came in the aftermath of Kawhi Leonard passing on the Lakers to join the Los Angeles Clippers—and noted it includes a player option.

McGee has embarked on a journeyman career since the Washington Wizards selected him with the 18th overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft. He spent the 2018-19 season with the Lakers after signing a one-year deal as part of the team's offseason free-agent overhaul.

The 31-year-old University of Nevada product averaged a career-best 12.0 points along with 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks while shooting 62.4 percent from the field across 75 appearances.

He ranked 15th among centers in player efficiency rating last season, but ESPN's real plus-minus placed him 63rd out of 72 qualifiers at the position.

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For his part, McGee told Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times in April he felt his play throughout the season proved he can be an effective NBA starter.

"I feel like there was a belief that I couldn't play more than 10 minutes in the league because of asthma or because of anything," he said. "I feel like I broke that stigma this year, showing that I can play 30-plus minutes if given the time and be efficient. I definitely think I've proved something this season."

Along with the Lakers and Wizards, McGee has also made stops with the Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors. He won back-to-back NBA titles with the Dubs in 2017 and 2018 before leaving to sign with L.A.

He's averaged 8.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks across 633 regular-season games.

McGee took on an important role for a Lakers squad that struggled with injuries throughout last season. Whether his role remains anywhere near as impactful next year depends on what other moves the team makes before opening night.

For now, he'll be penciled in as the team's starting center once again.

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