There is a long list of success stories from the Los Angeles Lakers scouting and player development department. No other team in the league boasts the same number of impact players that came from unconventional means as the Lakers. Austin Reaves has become the latest face of this phenomenon.
They don’t all have to succeed with the Lakers, either. Sometimes they get their start in Los Angeles and turn that into a solid career with another team; such as Ivica Zubac.
And in the very rare situation, they go on to win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest without ever having a standard NBA contract. That is exactly what Mac McClung did in 2023, two years after LA brought him in as an undrafted free agent. Now, McClung has finally signed his first standard NBA contract with the Orlando Magic.
Former Lakers G League standout Mac McClung signs with Magic.
McClung became a household name for NBA fans with his impressive showing during the 2023 Slam Dunk Contest. Before that, he was a standout with the G League South Bay Lakers that won the G League Rookie of the Year back in the 2021-22 season (and played in one NBA game for the Chicago Bulls as an emergency exhibit 10 signing).
Despite his success in the G League, the Lakers did not even give McClung a two-way contract. McClung left LA during the 2022 Summer League and joined the Golden State Warriors Summer League team, which led to him getting a non-guaranteed deal from the Warriors. He was waived before the season began.
After starting the 2022-23 season in the G League, McClung signed a two-way deal with the Philadelphia 76ers (hence why he was rocking a 76ers jersey in the Slam Dunk Contest). McClung would end up playing two NBA games with the Sixers, averaging 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 20.5 minutes per game.
McClung hasn’t totally proven that he can be a viable rotation guy in the NBA but all of the signs are there and he is still only 24 years old. With the Lakers’ track record of finding hidden gems, the Magic should be confident that they can get something out of McClung this season and beyond.
Regardless, it has been quite the journey for McClung, who now officially has his first standard NBA contract with any guarantees.