Reactions to the Milwaukee Bucks’ interest in free agent JaVale McGee

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 19 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 19 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

NBA free agency is officially set to begin at 5:00 pm CST tonight, and the Milwaukee Bucks are reportedly looking at a household name.

According to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro, the Bucks are among a handful of teams that are expressing interest in free agent big man JaVale McGee. Gambadoro notes that McGee is seeking multiple years on his next contract, and it is unclear whether his current team, the Phoenix Suns, are willing to offer that. It is certainly interesting to see Milwaukee’s name mentioned among the bunch when it comes to potential suitors for the 34-year-old McGee as he braces for free agency.

Reactions to the Milwaukee Bucks’ interest in free agent JaVale McGee

It is not all too surprising that the Milwaukee Bucks are looking to bulk up their depth at the center position. The team had their share of issues at the position last season after Brook Lopez missed a significant portion of the season due to back surgery. While Bobby Portis served as an outstanding starter in Lopez’s absence, the Bucks had trouble finding stability in a backup, as they tried several names such as DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, and Serge Ibaka before Lopez ultimately returned late in the season. The Bucks would be wise to make sure something like that does not happen in the 2022-23 NBA season by adding a reliable center for depth purposes.

The questions regarding this report stem from McGee’s perspective, as it is uncertain what kind of hypothetical role he would play in Milwaukee. Barring a trade, Brook Lopez is set to return for one more season, and although Bobby Portis is set to enter free agency later today, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer has reported that the big man “seems destined” to return to Milwaukee. That would make McGee that third-string center in the rotation, which does not seem like something he may entertain, given his stature as a solid starter or backup in recent memory. The Dallas Mavericks or Brooklyn Nets, who were also mentioned as suitors, could offer McGee a more prominent role in their rotation than the Bucks could, given that they do retain both Lopez and Portis.

If McGee were to ultimately sign with the Bucks, he would be a solid fit due to his ability to play in drop coverage, which is common for coach Mike Budenholzer. The two-time Coach of the Year has emphasized this style of defense over the years, and adding a defensive-minded center in McGee would allow them to continue utilizing that. Offensively, the big man does not have a reliable shot from 3-point range, which could be problematic, given how the Bucks have often targeted centers that can let it fly like Lopez and Portis due to how well it complements Giannis Antetokounmpo on that side of the basketball. Elsewhere, adding McGee would also bring more championship DNA to this roster, as the veteran has won three titles in his lengthy playing career, and teams can never have enough of that.

In short, signing McGee would be a fine move for the Bucks, but unless Portis were to surprisingly leave in free agency, it does not seem likely. There are other teams that can offer him more money and a more significant role, both of which he will likely be seeking.

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Stay tuned to see if the Milwaukee Bucks make a run at JaVale McGee in NBA free agency.