JaVale McGee, Suns agree to terms on 1-year deal, per report

Aug 2, 2021, 5:51 PM | Updated: 8:57 pm
Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns shoots past JaVale McGee #34 of the Denver Nuggets for two po...
Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns shoots past JaVale McGee #34 of the Denver Nuggets for two points in Game Four of the Western Conference second-round playoff series at Ball Arena on June 13, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns and free agent center JaVale McGee have agreed to a one-year contract worth $5 million, per Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes.

McGee, 33, spent the back-half of last season with the Denver Nuggets after being traded there at the deadline by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He averaged 5.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game over 13.5 minutes an outing.

The former first-round pick by the Washington Wizards in the 2008 NBA Draft has reinvented himself in the past few years as a solid, reliable backup center. He won three NBA championships in the last five years, two with the Golden State Warriors (2017, ’18) and one as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers (’20).

McGee fills a need at backup center for the Suns, one that was made even more glaring after Dario Saric tore his ACL in the NBA Finals. Saric is expected to miss the majority of the season, while center Frank Kaminsky is now a free agent. 2020 first-round pick Jalen Smith could also factor into the rotation as well.

The deal for $5 million will likely be the Suns using part of the mid-level exception (MLE), an amount worth over $9 million that can be divided up over multiple contracts. Phoenix can use that leftover MLE money, the bi-annual exception (BAE) and contracts on the minimum to finish out its roster.

The Suns got a lot of business taken care of in the first hours of free agency. They reportedly agreed to deals with point guards Chris Paul and Cam Payne. Wing Torrey Craig reportedly has an agreement in place with the Indiana Pacers.

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