For the second time since Friday, there’s a report that the Nets are in talks with the Cavaliers about acquiring JaVale McGee, the 7-foot defensive-oriented big and three-time NBA champion.
On Monday, Jason Dumas of KRON in San Francisco reported that Brooklyn and Cleveland are in “active discussions” about the 33-year-old, a teammate of Kevin Durant’s at Golden State.
SOURCE: The Brooklyn Nets are in active discussions with the Cleveland Cavaliers to acquire JaVale McGee. Also have interest in Kevin Love— Jason Dumas (@JDumasReports) January 25, 2021
Although the Love part of the report seems a bit far-fetched —he’s owed $90 million over the next three years— this is the second time that a reporter has linked the Nets to McGee.
On Friday, Sam Amico, who has long covered the Cavaliers tweeted that sources told him the Nets may “make a run” on Javale McGree, who is under contract with Cleveland at $4.2 million this season.
Nets and Cavs meeting for second time tonight, and sources tell @FortyEightMins to expect Nets to make a run at acquiring Cavs backup center JaVale McGee soon. Brooklyn has 2 available roster spots and looking for another veteran presence in the middle.— Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) January 23, 2021
Both reports follow the NBA’s decision Friday to grant the Nets a $5.7 million disabled player exception for Spencer Dinwiddie. McGee’s $4.2 million expiring contract would fit neatly into the DPE. The Nets could in theory send a future pick(s) or one of their stashes to Cleveland without sending out a player. The Nets currently have three roster openings and limited depth up front.
The Cavs, after picking up Jarrett Allen in the four team trade that brought James Harden to the Nets, are now top-heavy with bigs. In addition to Allen and McGee, Cleveland has Andre Drummond on the roster. Conversely, the Nets have only one veteran NBA 5, DeAndre Jordan, on the roster after the trade. They are also hurting on defense.
McGee, 33, has played 14 games for the Cavs this season, only one of them in a starting role. Still, he’s averaged 8.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 17 minutes.
One question, of course, is why would the Nets have agreed to sign 6’10” Norvel Pelle as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski. Pelle, also a rim protector, is six years younger than McGee and was on the Cavs G League roster.
Still, McGee is a veteran big and a defensive presence. Moreover, McGee has been part of three NBA championship teams, two with Durant in Golden State and last year with the Lakers. He was traded to the Cavaliers in November. On March 22, 2019, he had career highs of 33 points and 20 rebounds along with six blocked shots in a 111–106 loss to the Nets.
McGee made more than one highlight reel Sunday with this play against the Celtics.
Meanwhile, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported on a podcast with Andrew Yang, the former presidential candidate, that the Nets have their eyes on Drummond who’s playing on an expiring $28.7 million contract.
”People around the league say the Nets are hoping that Andre Drummond, the Cavs center, gets bought out. That’s what people say they’re hoping for but that’s unlikely because Cleveland is still in it,” referring to the playoff hunt.
One reason O’Connor thinks it’s unlikely is that this season the NBA playoff picture is limited to eight teams. At the end of the regular season, teams in the eighth, ninth and tenth spots will qualify for a “play-in” tournament.
“They’re in it partially because they’re pretty good but because they have more playoff sports to get in.”