New players often take some time to settle down in new organizations, especially when it is pre-loaded with stars. This might have been the pretext in the mind of JaVale McGee when he first entered the Los Angeles Lakers as a 31-YO in 2018.
When the Epic Vale came in, LeBron James was also in his first season with the Lakers. The franchise then housed Lonzo Ball, Ivica Zubac, Brandon Ingram, among others. Still, McGee started in 62 out of the 75 games in the 2018-19 season and averaged a career-high 12 points and 7.5 rebounds.
The Lakers have traded a 2026 second-round pick and JaVale McGee to the Cleveland Cavaliers to acquire Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie.
The two players have a non-guaranteed contract and the Lakers have already waived Bell. What’s more, the $4.2 million heavy salary of the center saved the franchise some significant cap space for Raptors’ Marc Gasol in a win-win deal.
JaVale felt like it was his responsibility to pen down his gratitude towards the organization. He wrote on his Instagram, “I want to thank Rob Pelinka and @jeaniebuss for the opportunity to be the starting center of the World Champion @lakers for the past two years. We set out w/ one goal in mind and accomplished it!”
The 7-foot veteran is about to turn 33 in January 2021. He gave a decent contribution in the Lakers’ championship run, starting each of the 68 regular-season games as a center.
In the post-season, however, he saw a steep fall in his efficiency as he played 14 out of the total 22 games while averaging just 2.9 points (career-low). Perhaps this bolstered Rob Pelinka’s drive to let him go.
He is blessed with quick feet that can cover both ends of the court promptly. Plus, he has an innate ability to protect the rim and help with defensive rebounds.
His height and wingspan can be another addition to the Cavaliers who have just lost Tristan Thompson to Boston Celtics. Moreover, as part of a different strategy, the Cavs can use him as an asset to later attract newer talent.
JaVale McGee can secure a bigger role in the Cavs. If he gets back to his 2018-19 performance, it’ll be great for the organization hungry for a better run.
It will be interesting to see how he matches with players like Matthew Dellavedova and be a complementing hand.
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