As the pool of potential replacements for DeAndre Jordan continued to dwindle Saturday, the Clippers found themselves in a previously unexpected place: pondering the possibility of JaVale McGee.
The team was expected to speak with the free-agent center, one league executive said, as well as to veteran power forward-center Amare Stoudemire "in the next day or so." The Clippers have also had discussions about bringing center Ryan Hollins back after he spent last season with the Sacramento Kings.
The Clippers have also had discussions about bringing center Ryan Hollins back after he spent last season with the Sacramento Kings.
McGee, 27, was an uber-athletic 7-footer with lots of upside before sustaining a stress fracture in his lower left leg that has limited him to 28 games the last two seasons.
The Denver Nuggets gave McGee a four-year, $44-million contract in July 2012, but he continued to come off the bench during Coach George Karl's final season with the team and missed most of the 2013-14 season because of the leg injury. He was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in February before being waived the next month and not picked up by another team for the playoffs.
McGee has career averages of 8.4 points and 5.5 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game. He was capable of both highlight-reel and boneheaded plays, the latter of which made him a regular on TNT's "Shaqtin' a Fool" segment.
One league executive said there were concerns about McGee having lost some of his athleticism in the wake of his leg injury. He is also asthmatic and has used an inhaler during games.
Nevertheless, McGee would be an intriguing project for Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, who helped mold the similarly athletic Jordan into one of the NBA's top defenders and rebounders before Jordan agreed to leave the Clippers for the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.
One person close to Stoudemire said earlier this week that he would be interested in the Clippers if Jordan departed but noted the six-time All-Star was also considering a few other teams. The 6-foot-10 Stoudemire, 32, has played in an average of only 50 games per season since he was last an All-Star in 2010-11 and is not strong on defense.
Hollins, 30, spent two seasons with the Clippers before leaving for the Kings and would likely return on a veteran's minimum contract to play a reserve role.
Three Jordan alternatives were taken off the table Saturday when the Lakers traded for Roy Hibbert, the Toronto Raptors reached an agreement to sign Bismack Biyombo and the Sacramento Kings took Kosta Koufos. The Clippers can offer a free agent only up to $2 million per season after committing three years and $10.5 million to Paul Pierce earlier this week.