Sources: Celtics’ talks with JaVale McGee fall through because of contract option

The Vertical
Yahoo Sports

Talks on a deal between the Boston Celtics and free-agent center JaVale McGee fell apart when the sides couldn’t agree on control of the player’s contract option for the 2015-16 season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Javale McGee has a contract that owes him $11.2 million this season and $12 million in 2015-16. (USAT)
Javale McGee has a contract that owes him $11.2 million this season and $12 million in 2015-16. (USAT)

McGee visited the Celtics this week and had been inclined to sign there, only to have his agent, B.J. Armstrong, and Celtics general manager Danny Ainge become unable to move past that deal point on Thursday afternoon.

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For McGee, the plan is to sign a deal that provides him with a player option on the 2015-16 season – something teams, including Boston, would prefer to be a team option. That way, if McGee plays well, teams won’t be so vulnerable to lose him this summer.

McGee had courted interest from multiple playoff contenders, including the Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri signed McGee to a $48 million extension in Denver, and remains interested in offering him an opportunity to join the Raptors for a playoff run, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Nevertheless, McGee’s insistence on holding onto his freedom for the 2015-16 season could cause some teams to resist committing to him for the rest of this year and the playoffs.

McGee has shown promise in his career to be one of the NBA’s better centers, but injuries and inconsistent play have curbed his progress.

The Sixers completed a deal for McGee on Feb. 19, acquiring with him Oklahoma City’s 2015 first-round draft pick that the Nuggets had secured in a trade with Cleveland earlier this season. Philadelphia waived him on Sunday, giving McGee the chance to sign with another team and be eligible for the playoffs.

McGee has had two consecutive injury-plagued seasons, and has a contract that owes him $11.2 million this season and $12 million in the 2015-16 season. Denver had to deliver the first-round pick to make it palatable for the Sixers to take on McGee’s contract.

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