JaVale McGee is currently participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a member of Team USA. However, NBA free agency waits for no one, and the veteran center hit the market after appearing in 46 games during the 2020-21 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Denver Nuggets. Ultimately, his wait on the market wasn’t very long, though, as McGee reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Phoenix Suns within three hours after the moratorium began.
Free agent center JaVale McGee has reached an agreement with the Phoenix Suns on a one-year, $5 million deal, league sources tell @YahooSports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 3, 2021
During Phoenix’s incredible run to the 2021 NBA Finals, the Suns had a hole at the backup center spot. That became even more apparent after the season-ending injury to Dario Saric, but Phoenix was already lacking a center-sized backup to Deandre Ayton, and McGee certainly checks that box.
The 33-year-old veteran brings dynamism as a lob threat and finisher at the rim, and he gives the Suns an element that they didn’t have last season. With Saric out and 2020 first-round pick Jalen Smith still unproven, there is also a clear path to playing time for McGee, and the Suns are built to contend again in 2022 after bringing back Chris Paul and Cam Payne in the opening moments of free agency. It isn’t often that one-year deals at a modest cost swing the title picture, but McGee does help the Suns and this agreement makes sense for both player and team, even at this early stage.