The Los Angeles Lakers traded JaVale McGee this offseason for two non-guaranteed contracts in Alfonzo McKinnie and Jordan Bell this offseason. That trade was not for McKinnie and Bell, but instead to open up the salary-cap space to pursue veteran center Marc Gasol, who they signed to a two-year deal.
Gasol has been solid, but not fantastic thus far this season. His offensive output is rather low but that is by design with so many other scoring options on the team. He is playing solid defense and is a great leader — two things that make the signing worth it.
But the Lakers may need more production out of the center position at some point this season. While it is not a glaring hole, if we are nitpicking, the team could definitely use more center depth. As the roster is constructed right now, there is no traditional backup center on the roster.
Montrezl Harrell essentially serves as the bench five with Anthony Davis playing some minutes at the five as well. This is fine in the regular season, but as we saw when the Lakers play a really good pick-and-roll team like the Portland Trail Blazers, it could create matchup problems defensively.
Rob Pelinka is a great GM and I would bet that the team does bring in some sort of center depth at some point in the season. One potential name that is intriguing is JaVale McGee himself.
Why a JaVale McGee reunion makes sense for the Los Angeles Lakers.
This is not baseless speculation. The Cleveland Cavaliers seemingly have half of the league’s big men on their roster and are now reportedly shopping JaVale McGee on the trade market after acquiring another big man — Jarrett Allen — in the James Harden blockbuster.
Yes, it would be a bit odd for the Lakers to trade McGee and then reacquire him just a few months later, but if the Lakers are going to make an addition then it might as well be someone who is familiar with the roster and the coaching staff.
McGee is going to get a minimal return on the trade market and the Lakers, quite frankly, could probably send McKinnie back to Cleveland alongside a promising two-way player, such as Devontae Cacok, and a future second-round pick.
That would be more than enough to trade for McGee and the Los Angeles Lakers might not even need to make that trade. There is also a good chance that the Cavs simply want to save a few dollars and buyout McGee, doing the agent a favor in the process that will hopefully pay off in the future.
McGee would then be free to sign with any team in the league. I doubt that he has any sort of personal vendetta against the Los Angeles Lakers and it makes sense for him to sign with the team that has the best NBA Title odds.
His role would be small, but getting him off the bench to play 10 or so minutes per game in the regular season would be really useful. Having him as a just-in-case option for the NBA Playoffs if Gasol gets hurt or gets into foul trouble is huge as well.
The only team that I could see luring McGee away from the Los Angeles Lakers would be the Brooklyn Nets, as they might look for more veteran center depth behind DeAndre Jordan now that they traded Allen. But if the Nets really wanted McGee, I think they would have acquired him in the Harden blockbuster.
Regardless, the Los Angeles Lakers would benefit from a reunion with JaVale McGee, as weird as it would be.