The Wizards have resisted inquires about JaVale McGee for several years, but it now appears that the supremely athletic 7-foot-1 big man could be had in the right deal. According to multiple NBA front office executives, the Wizards are open to moving McGee, who will be a restricted free agent this summer.
Andray Blatche has been on the trading block for some time but has yet to generate much interest. The Wizards aren’t actively shopping McGee but they are willing to listen, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. With the trade deadline less than a week away, John Wall is the only untouchable on the roster, one executive said.
According to one source, the Wizards have informed teams that they can have any player except Wall if they are willing to take on Blatche and the three years and $23 million he is owed after this season.
McGee is one of just five players averaging at least 11.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and two blocked shots – Josh Smith and all-stars Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol, Andrew Bynum are the others – but he has also mixed the spectacular with the perplexing.
He is having the best statistical season of his career, posting four games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, and 10 games with at least four blocked shots. But he continues to struggle with the same mistakes, especially on defense as he often finds himself out of position. He has the worst total plus-minus of any player on the roster despite playing the third-most minutes for the whole season.
McGee was also criticized for throwing a ball off the backboard and dunking during a loss to Houston. He ran back on defense while the team was on offense in a win against Toronto and he goaltendeded a shot into the sixth row in a loss to Sacramento.
Coach Randy Wittman recently benched him for the entire second half of a game against Milwaukee and at the start of a game against Orlando and didn’t use McGee for the final 15 minutes of the Wizards’ comeback victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting that the Wizards have expressed interest in acquiring Bucks oft-injured center Andrew Bogut, which could indicate a willingness to part with McGee.
According to a league source, Bogut has requested to be moved, but the Wizards don’t have the resources to match up with his $12 million salary. McGee earns $2.5 million in his fourth season.
The No. 1 overall pick in 2005, Bogut has played just 12 games this season because of an ankle injury that is not expected to require surgery. Bogut is averaging 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds and is due $27 million over the next two seasons.
The Wizards were unable to reach a contract extension with McGee by the Jan. 31 deadline and McGee will likely yield a large offer sheet this summer. Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan probably set the market when he signed a four-year, $43-million contract last summer.
Teams have contacted the Wizards about McGee for some time, but the team has been unwilling to consider offers for him. Last summer, Minnesota reportedly discussed sending the No. 2 overall pick (which turned out to be Derrick Williams) to Washington in exchange for the sixth pick and McGee but the Wizards had no interest in moving him. Oklahoma City reportedly offered the No. 3 pick (which turned out to be James Harden) for McGee and the fifth overall pick before the 2009 draft. A league source has since denied that either of those talks took place.