Houston Rockets: JaVale McGee’s presence would be a game-changer

Free agent center JaVale McGee, a target of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
Free agent center JaVale McGee, a target of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets are reportedly interested in center JaVale McGee. His presence would certainly be a game-changer so why is that the case? Let’s dig.

Houston Rockets fans — we’re just hours away from the opening bell to NBA free agency and there has already been a slew of rumors as to who will be going where and how much loot that they’re going to make.

Unfortunately, for the Houston Rockets, with their limited cap flexibility, they won’t be signing anybody because their moves will be predicated on the decision of one Jimmy Butler, who is one of the hottest free agents on the market this offseason.

The Houston Rockets have made it no secret that they’ve wanted him in the past but they lost out to the Philadelphia 76ers in his services this past season.

Butler has opted out of $29.1 million option for 2019-20 and has decided to trudge through the somewhat murky waters of free agency to see if he can strike a massive, multi-year payday of a lifetime.

He’s going to get it but it’s going to be a matter of who has the best bid for this services.  He is reportedly flying to Miami today to meet with the Heat organization and then will head to Los Angeles where the Houston Rockets are waiting to make their pitch for Butler.

Somewhere in the mix, the Sixers are considering bringing him back but have been mum if they’d give him the maximum allowable contract worth five-year and around $190 million total.

So while all of that is going on, the Houston Rockets are preparing contingency plans in case they have to move salary off their books — i.e. Clint Capela and Eric Gordon — in order to have the cash to sign Butler outright.

They’ll have to sign guys to fill the void.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported recently that the Houston Rockets are interested in the services of center JaVale McGee, who has morphed into a solid NBA center after being the butt of many jokes — including Shaquille O’Neal‘s — in the earlier stages of his career.

They’re also in hot pursuit of center Kevon Looney — both he and McGee were members of the Golden State Warriors in their careers — so it’s clearly obvious that the Houston Rockets are looking for options at the center position in case Capela is traded.

McGee, 31, has proven his worth in this league and we know what we’re going to get out him.  He’s a solid scorer and can rebound the ball and block shots considerably well.

His defensive statistics are incredibly good as well — his defensive rating per 100 possessions was a 104 last season and a 103 back in 2017-18.  That’s the kind of guy this team needs in the paint.

However, Looney is more of a sound investment because of his age — he’s 23 — as the likelihood of him improving his game is even better.

Depending on how much the mid-level exception is for the Houston Rockets — worth between $5

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and $9 million — they can split that money up between the two and I’m hopeful that we could bring both into the fold.  I think Looney should get a cost-effective, yet rewarding multi-year deal and I wouldn’t give McGee more than two years if I were negotiating the contracts.

But all in all, I’d love to have McGee in the fold because he’s the ultimate team player and willing to do whatever is asked of him to help any team be successful.

The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t have much of an offensive strategy other than dump the ball into LeBron James‘ hands but when he was hurt for that stretch of time toward the end of the season, McGee emerged as an option on offense.

Just think how he’d flourish in Mike D’Antoni‘s system!  Although he’s not a three-point marksman, I think he can effectively play the pick-and-roll just as well as Capela can and the Houston Rockets will be successful because of it.

We’ll have to monitor this development but I’m hopeful that this man becomes a member of this team.

Let’s go Houston Rockets!

Next. Two teams likely to trade for Clint Capela. dark

McGee averaged 12.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game while shooting 62.4 percent from the field and 63.2 percent from the charity stripe in 75 games — 62 starts — in 2018-19.