The Houston Rockets have a confirmed visit with unrestricted free agent center Javale McGee coming later today, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes and later confirmed by The Athletic’s Kelly Iko.
Free agent center JaVale McGee will meet with the Houston Rockets on Sunday, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 30, 2019
This isn’t exactly what Rockets fans were looking for, as McGee has been the butt of many a joke in the league through years past, most notably from Shaquille O’Neal. But McGee is coming off of a career year in which he averaged 12 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game, while playing 23 minutes per contest with the Los Angeles Lakers, his most since 2012.
The Rockets are a pretty good fit for McGee’s style, as he should be successful off of the pick-and-roll alongside James Harden, much like Clint Capela, and he also provides some rim protection.
This move should also be a signal to Capela that the Rockets are serious about shipping him out should Jimmy Butler materialize. We’ve long theorized that Morey feels he can replace at least 75-80 percent of Capela with a cheaper veteran signing and some bench minutes of Isaiah Hartenstein, and this is more evidence for that argument. The Rockets also just lost Nene, but I doubt McGee wants to come here for 10 minutes per night coming off of a career year. This is likely Capela insurance.
Personally, I also feel that Capela can be sufficiently replaced with the right veteran signing, but I’m not sure that McGee is that guy.
Nevertheless, he’ll be in town today, and the situation requires monitoring, if nothing else because the signing of a new veteran center will be the first tell for Morey’s plans to acquire Butler.