Two-time champion JaVale McGee wants to stay with Golden State

ByChris Haynes ESPN logo
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Free-agent center JaVale McGee told ESPN he wishes to return to the Golden State Warriors and has no desire to relocate.

"I haven't thought about [another team] mainly because, hopefully, in my mind, I'm a Warrior for the rest of my career," he said to ESPN on Monday, six days before the free-agency period begins on July 1. "If that happens, it would be a blessing."

The first half of the 2017-18 season saw the 7-footer receive minimal playing time, including 16 DNPs. But after the All-Star break, head coach Steve Kerr inserted McGee into the starting lineup in place of Zaza Pachulia to try to spark the Warriors, who were struggling by their own standards.

Kerr stayed with McGee as his starting center in the opening round of the playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs, then changed course in the next two rounds. But in the Finals, after surviving Game 1, Kerr went back to McGee.

Against the Cavs, he was 14-of-17 from the field and scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, in Games 2 and 3 before helping the Warriors finish off the Cavs to win the franchise's third championship in the past four years.It was McGee's second title with the Warriors after he'd played only 62 total games in the three seasons combined prior to joining Golden State in 2016.

McGee, who made $2.1 million on a minimum contract this past season, remembers when he realized he wanted to try to make the Bay Area his long-term home.

"This year, in the Finals," he said. "Just all of us out there together, especially the starting five. The cohesion that we had when I was in the game, it speaks for itself. We swept 'em. So, it was definitely a beautiful thing and it just felt right. It was just so smooth when I was inserted in there. It was a lot of fun. I want to continue experiencing that."

Golden State has six other free agents to tend to in addition to McGee: Kevin Durant,David West, Pachulia, Kevon Looney, Patrick McCaw and Nick Young.

"I don't know how [free agency] is going to turn out, but it's going to obviously be a long one, especially with everybody waiting for LeBron [James] and Kawhi [Leonard]," he said. "So, you never know what pieces will fall and who needs who. But I want to be back with the Warriors. This is where I want to be."

McGee, who has become a fan favorite, has embraced the community. He frequently gives back through educational programs and recently held a softball event that featured teammates, including Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala.

"I feel like it's the perfect city and by far the best fan base that I've ever been a part of," McGee said. "The love they show us is amazing. Obviously, the coaching staff and the whole organization. There's also a lot of opportunities outside of basketball there. I love it."

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