In November, the Los Angeles Lakers traded JaVale McGee to the Cleveland Cavaliers because — to put it as plainly as possible — he was making too much money. The Lakers were able to find a cheap and servicable replacement for McGee in Marc Gasol, but it became clear early on how much more dynamic they were on both ends of the floor with athletic centers like McGee and Dwight Howard on the roster.
Damian Jones is hoping that he can fill that need for the Lakers, but the team is keeping all of their options open, including the possibility of bringing McGee back, according to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times:
I think JaVale McGee would be a nice addition – he’s willing to sacrifice, gives the Lakers a dimension they miss without having to add a huge ego. I’ve heard there’s some interest, but McGee would need to be traded to another team from Cleveland and then be bought out to be eligible to sign with the Lakers.
As Woike notes, McGee can only re-sign with the Lakers if he’s traded to another team and bought out by the team that acquires him in the trade. That’s because it’s illegal under the CBA for a team to re-acquire a player — in a trade or in free agency — that they traded in the same season. So, for the same reason, the Lakers can’t trade for Danny Green or sign him as a free agent if he’s bought out by the Philadelphia 76ers.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that McGee is traded to another team and then bought out, but he’s more likely to be traded to a contender because of how attainable he is at his salary — ironic, isn’t it?
All that being said, the Lakers would still be wise to wait until after the trade deadline to make a decision with their two remaining roster spots. Who knows? — maybe McGee is traded and then bought out, or maybe the Sacramento Kings accept a package of Alfonzo McKinnie and a second-round pick for Hassan Whiteside at the deadline. The point is the Lakers have time and it’s safe to assume they’re going to use it to their advantage.