JaVale McGee Rumors: Cavaliers Not Interested in Buyout If No Trade Found

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2021

Cleveland Cavaliers center JaVale McGee against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly plan to keep center JaVale McGee for the rest of the season if they can't move him before the 2021 NBA trade deadline on Thursday. 

Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reported Tuesday the Cavs "wouldn't be interested" in buying out the remainder of McGee's contract to make him a free agent if they can't find a trade partner.

The Cavaliers acquired McGee in a November 2020 trade with the Los Angeles Lakers. He's played well in a limited reserve role, averaging 8.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in just 15.2 minutes. He's also shooting 52.1 percent from the field across 33 appearances and served as a leader for a young Cavs squad, a role the three-time NBA champion said he takes "extremely serious." 

"We'll definitely miss [him] if he's gone," guard Collin Sexton said of McGee, per Fedor. "But hopefully he's here with us until the end of the season. He's not one to be afraid to let us know if we're messing up. That's the leadership that we need, and he also leads by example."

McGee, who's in the final season of a two-year, $8.2 million contract and will be an unrestricted free agent at season's end, explained he's become accustomed to trade rumors over the years, per Fedor:

"It's definitely hard when you're in the trade talks as a younger player, but as an older player myself, I've been in trade talks plenty of years and plenty of times. I've figured out how to block it out, play my game and focus on what I have to do. Just lock in and play your game. Don't worry about anything else. All you can control is what you do on the court in the minutes that you're given.

"If something happens at the trade deadline, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. You really never know."

The 33-year-old University of Nevada product figures to attract attention from contenders leading up to the deadline. He's proved his ability to make a substantial impact in a small role without a high number of offensive touches, and his $4.2 million cap hit is manageable, especially since it's an expiring deal.

If no deal is found, it sounds like McGee will continue to mentor the Cavs' young core for the rest of the campaign before exploring his options in the offseason.