Despite winning the 2019-20 NBA championship, the Los Angeles Lakers parted ways with over half of their team in favor of a younger and potentially better roster. One of the biggest names the Lakers moved on from was JaVale McGee.
He had been the team’s starting center and chose to exercise a $4.2 million player option for the 2020-21 season. However, McGee was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a money saving move that allowed the Lakers to sign Marc Gasol to a two-year minimum contract.
In exchange for McGee, the Lakers got Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie, of which they’re only keeping the latter. While the Lakers clearly felt they needed to move on from McGee in order to improve, he did provide strong veteran leadership in a starting role.
McGee said goodbye to fans and the Lakers organization in a thoughtful post on social media, via McGee’s Instagram:
During his tenure with the Lakers — including the postseason — McGee started at center in 141 games out of a possible 157. He was a solid starter that brought the Lakers high energy to begin games, but he also was a good leader from the bench.
During the championship run when McGee was relegated to the bench for a majority of the games, he was a vocal team player who had no problem impacting the game from the sideline.
McGee now is with the Cavaliers, where he will act as the back-up center for Andre Drummond on a team firmly in the middle of a rebuild. Perhaps the Cavaliers young player will take a step forward this season and allow McGee to fight for a low playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Lakers looking for another center to ease Anthony Davis’ workload
During the regular season, the Lakers found success with their two-center rotation of McGee and Dwight Howard. With both gone now — McGee with the Cavaliers and Howard with the Philadelphia 76ers — and Gasol being the only true center on the roster, L.A. may still want another center.
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