JaVale McGee was an important role player for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2019-20 regular season. However, his playing time essentially vanished during the postseason, as his size and lack of speed simply became a liability in an NBA that has gone much smaller.
McGee was almost immediately removed from the starting lineup during the Portland Trail Blazers series, and by the Lakers’ second-round matchup against the Houston Rockets, he had been relegated to the bench nearly full time.
Despite this, McGee remains a potentially valuable regular season piece in order to keep Anthony Davis’ workload manageable. McGee will get another chance to prove his value to L.A., as he has opted in to the second year of his two-year contract, per Shams Charania of The Athletic:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 19, 2020
McGee had a player option on the 2020-21 season worth $4.2 million. He could have easily declined and entered unrestricted free agency, but it was unlikely he would’ve received more than his current contract value from opposing teams or even the Lakers.
If McGee had planned on declining, it likely would’ve been for less money but led to a situation with potentially more playing time. And while the veteran big man remains on the L.A. roster at a price tag of $4.2 million, it remains to be seen what his role will be with the team.
The Lakers have reportedly shown interest in players like DeMarcus Cousins and Tristan Thompson, as well as Serge Ibaka and possibly re-signing Dwight Howard. If the Lakers sign any two of those four, it would be hard to see McGee getting minutes, and that could result in a trade.
There is nothing definitive when it comes to McGee’s place on the Lakers in 2020-21, but for now, he will be on the roster and could very easily remain the team’s starting center.
Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope decline player options
While McGee chose to opt in due to a lack of any valuable market for him, Lakers guards Rajon Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope may be able to take advantage of their playoff performances.
Both players reportedly declined their player options and entered unrestricted free agency, with Rondo more likely than not leaving the Lakers.
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