Should Warriors Investigate A Possible JaVale McGee Reunion? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
It won’t be long before the Warriors will see some familiar faces on the floor at the start of the 2023-2024 NBA season.
The Warriors open the season with one of their all-time greats, Kevin Durant, in a game that will be his first for fans at Chase Center. Their next game is a short bus ride to Sacramento, where the Warriors will play Durant’s predecessor, Harrison Barnes, as Golden State deepens its rivalry with the Kings. The Warriors could also soon have a chance to add a familiar face to a roster currently at 13 guaranteed spots.
Former Warriors center JaVale McGee is expected to have his contract terminated and extended by the Dallas Mavericks before the August 31 deadline, Marc Stein reported Tuesday, citing league sources.
Spotrac’s Keith Smith explained how the Mavs will stretch McGee’s contract over the next five years, and what exactly the terminology means.
With McGee expected to be a free agent soon, should the Warriors explore a possible reunion to bring back the Veterans Center? Let’s take a look at Golden State’s current roster and McGee’s possible fit.
McGee would automatically add the missing measure the exterior begs for. The addition of Dario Šarić in free agency finally gives the Warriors a player taller than 6 feet… by 1 inch. McGee is a true 7-footer, and while skill is now more important than sheer size, it’s no coincidence that the last five NBA MVPs have been big men. An eleven-year streak of award going to a point guard, shooting guard, or small forward came to an end. And while Joel Embiid stopped Nikola Jokic from winning a triple award, the Western Conference is littered with stars towering over the Warriors.
Jokic, of course, leads that group, before and after leading the Denver Nuggets to their first championship. Also present at the conference are Anthony Davis (6ft), Domantas Sabonis (6ft), Jaren Jackson Jr. (11.1 meters), Deandre Ayton (11.1 meters), Karl-Anthony Towns (1.80 meters) and Rudy Gobert (1.2 meters), Chet Holmgren (7 meters), Walker Kessler (1.8 meters ), Victor Wembanyama (1.8 meters) and others. So yes, as usual the Warriors will look up at their competition in hopes of being on top of the mountain and looking down on the rest of the league.
Kevon Looney will want to play all 82 games of the regular season for the third year in a row. That’s an admirable goal for the indispensable center but he needs a break. Like Draymond Green, who will fill some central duties, the position should still be very secondary most of the time. If the Warriors considered bringing back McGee for a third time, he would be deep in the pecking order and possibly even behind rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis.
McGee’s two seasons in a Warriors jersey were in his 29 and 30 seasons. He is now 35 and will turn 36 on January 19. The Mavs signed McGee to a three-year, $17.2 million contract last season to strengthen their frontcourt after Looney averaged 10.6 points and 10.6 rebounds against Dallas in the Finals of the conference. The contract was a disaster, leaving the Mavs eager to move on after a season in which McGee played 42 games and averaged 8.5 minutes, 4.4 points, and 2.5 rebounds per game.
The Mavs were minus 7.4 per 100 possessions with McGee on the floor.
Between the returning players and the off-season additions, the Warriors already have 11 players who are unlikely to lose their spot on the depth chart to someone taking 14th. That actually works in McGee’s favor. The 14th spot on the roster, assuming the Warriors keep the 15th spot open, will depend heavily on culture fit. McGee certainly does, and has plenty in his corner on the Warriors’ roster and coaching staff.
A handful of players come through Chase Center for workouts prior to training camp. Among those players, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Kent Bazemore, two former Warriors, are part of that list. Both were featured during the Warriors playoff games last season, and so was McGee. It all fits into a culture that is currently in the spotlight.
Ideally, McGee could help Jackson-Davis quickly understand Kerr’s system. He could be a pick and roll lob threat for Chris Paul and unlock Green’s short lobs again. But even in a group of guys who have played for Kerr, Toscano-Anderson probably holds the most value of the three as someone more versatile and five years younger than McGee.
In the event that McGee goes on the open market any time soon, should he be on the Warriors’ radar? Certainly. The answer is not a profound yes, and it would be wrong to ignore the possibility entirely. McGee wouldn’t be a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. He would fit into the squad on paper, and more importantly, he would do so immediately in the dressing room.
The three-time champ just isn’t the player or athlete he once was as a Warriors fan favorite. The past should just be able to be. Nevertheless, the door will not be slammed shut in San Francisco once Dallas inevitably opens it.
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