JaVale McGee opting in to his $4.2 million player option made it seem like he’d be back with the Lakers to give the team center depth for their title defense, but — as Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer consistently reported was likely to happen all week — he is now on the move. The Lakers are trading him to the Cleveland Cavaliers to free up room to sign Marc Gasol in free agency.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the story:
Lakers are sending McGee and a future-second round pick to Cavaliers, source tells ESPN. https://t.co/oVWXtMphII— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 23, 2020
JaVale trade clears the way for the Lakers to have the available money to sign Marc Gasol, sources tell ESPN. Deal is still being worked out.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 23, 2020
Both are on non-guaranteed deals that the Lakers can waive. https://t.co/xnFWdVTHv3— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 23, 2020
It is not immediately clear what the Lakers’ plans are for Bell and McKinnie, and whether or not they’ll be re-routed to other teams or head into training camp with the purple and gold when it begins on Dec. 1, but cap-wise, this might make the most sense:
The salary savings from trading JaVale will be used to absorb the full $2.6 million (vet minimum) of Gasol's salary which hits the cap in full because he's signing a 2-year deal. Please, someone who understands the cap really well correct me if I'm wrong. Lord, help me.— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) November 23, 2020
But as far as McGee goes, he deserves credit and thanks for his role in keeping Anthony Davis healthy and fresh last season by playing center all year — and for accepting a reduced role on their run to the championship without complaint. But after he was played off the floor for virtually the entire postseason and despite the departure of Dwight Howard in free agency, this also hardly feels like an unsurvivable loss, or even a critical one, especially since it let them land Gasol, who is a big upgrade if healthy. McGee had his utility and would have again during the regular season, but he’s certainly not irreplaceable by any stretch of the imagination.
This was a productive, mutually beneficial partnership that resulted in a ring for both sides, but now it’s just time for both parties to go their separate ways. There shouldn’t be any hard feelings from either of them.
So long, JaVale, and thanks for all the vlogs.