JaVale McGee — one of the keys to the Golden State Warriors’ third championship in four years — has agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to a report by ESPN’s Chris Haynes.
The terms of the deal have not been announced, but McGee will go from playing against LeBron James in each of the last two NBA Finals to playing with him. James made waves on Sunday when his agency announced that the three-time NBA champion had agreed to terms on a four-year, $154-million contract with the Lakers. McGee signed a one-year deal worth $2.1 million minimum deal a year ago, and it’s unlikely that he would have been able to receive more than that with the Warriors, who reportedly pursued McGee, along with the Thunder and Pelicans.
McGee averaged 4.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game last season. His most significant contributions came when he was able to slow down James during the NBA Finals sweep of James’s Cavaliers. After seeing only three garbage-time minutes during a 41-point Game 3 win in the Western Conference Finals, McGee guarded James for eight possessions in the finals, and held him to just two points.
In the Finals, he finished 16-for-20 from the floor, averaging 2.3 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 8.0 points, including a 6-for-6 Game 2 performance from the floor.
McGee, a 30-year old center, became an unrestricted free agent when the free agent period dawned on Saturday night. Given that the Warriors wanted to get younger, and to flip some of their center spots into wings as the game becomes more athletic and positionless, it was unlikely that McGee would return. Instead, it’s expected that Damian Jones — who will see action in this week’s California Classic Summer League in Sacramento — will get more minutes at center.