It looks like “Shaqtin’ A Fool” legend JaVale McGee will get one last chance to salvage his NBA career. According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, the Dallas Mavericks have signed the gangly center to a two-year deal, with a team option for the second year.
The man Shaquille O’Neal has dubbed “Tragic Bronson” (i.e. the opposite of Magic Johnson) for his unintentionally hilarious on-court foibles will likely be a second or third string backup for the Mavs given their offseason acquisitions of Zaza Pachulia and Samuel Dalembert. Here’s more from Stein:
“Pachulia is projected to replace the departed Tyson Chandler as Dallas’ starter at center, but the need for rim protection — even if Pachulia pans out as a fallback — led the Mavericks to sign McGee and [Salah] Mejri and bring back Dalembert to audition them all in October.
The Mavericks did almost a month of background work on McGee’s health situation before coming to the terms, holding out for more clarity on the 27-year-old’s ability to stay healthy after playing in just 28 games over the past two seasons.”
It’s understandable that his injury history would give them considerable pause, given that he’s been limited to 28 total games over the past two seasons. But even when healthy, McGee was also often hampered by a seemingly never-ending succession of boneheaded blunders. Still, his combination of size and athleticism lend him the ability to patrol paint on defense, even if it’s just for short spurts. He’ll just have to prove that he can remain both healthy and mentally focused long enough to do so effectively.