JaVale McGee Rumors: Lakers Free Agent to Meet with Rockets on Sunday

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2019

Los Angeles Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari, right, reaches in on Los Angeles Lakers center JaVale McGee during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 5, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets will reportedly meet with veteran center JaVale McGee on Sunday night, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

He had an excellent 2018-19 season, averaging 12.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 22.3 minutes per game with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Houston's interest in McGee may hint at bigger things to come—or at least general manager Daryl Morey's attempts to pull off bigger things.

Last week, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported the Rockets made Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker available in separate trades as a "prelude to their pursuit of a sign-and-trade ... for Jimmy Butler." He added, "The Rockets want to secure the best available first-round pick acquired for any one of three players as part of a larger deal with Philadelphia for Butler."

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Friday the Rockets had a trade in place for Capela should a deal for Butler happen:

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

The Rockets believe they have a trade partner for Clint Capela but do not intend to deal Capela unless they are sure they can acquire marquee Sixers free agent Jimmy Butler, according to a source briefed on Houston's thinking

Capela would be a cap casualty in any sign-and-trade for Butler, and it would also leave the Rockets without an option at center. The rim-running, shot-blocking McGee would make sense for the system the Rockets run if they end up trading Capela.

Of course, it's possible their pursuit of Butler will be fruitless. The Sixers still have to play ball with the Rockets and are the only team that can offer him a five-year supermax contract. But Butler will also have plenty of other suitors:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Sources: Jimmy Butler expected to meet the Miami Heat in South Fla. Sunday. Butler/Rockets meeting likely early week in LA. Sixers haven’t ruled out working with Butler on sign-and-trades, which Miami and Houston need to acquire the All-Star guard.

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Sources: Jimmy Butler plans to meet with the 76ers soon and has interest from other teams with maximum salary space, including the Lakers and Nets, and sign-and-trade possibilities elsewhere.

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

The Clippers are exploring the feasibility of signing both Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler in free agency, @NYTSports has learned

The Rockets aren't just reportedly looking at McGee at center, as Stein reported Saturday the team also set up a "free-agent recruitment session" with Kevon Looney.

It isn't a coincidence that Houston has been linked to two centers. The team is throwing its eggs into the Butler basket and is preparing to find a replacement for Capela. Both McGee and Looney make sense, though everything hinges on whether the Sixers are interested in doing a sign-and-trade.