Grading the JaVale McGee and Isaiah Hartenstein Trade

Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee (34) warms up before game 6 of the first round of the NBA playoffs Thursday, May 10, 2012 at Pepsi Center in Denver Colorado. Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post (Photo By Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The JaVale McGee and Isaiah Hartenstein trade has been finalized. The Denver Nuggets are trading away Hartenstein and two second-round picks to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for McGee.

The Denver Nuggets Acquire JaVale McGee at the NBA Trade Deadline

The Nuggets made a move during yesterday’s trade deadline to acquire McGee from the Cavaliers. This is according to Adrian Wojnarowski, an ESPN Senior NBA Insider.

McGee is a veteran NBA player that has been in the NBA since the 2008-09 NBA season. He has also won two championships with the Golden State Warriors and one championship with the Los Angeles Lakers. McGee also plays the center position, which is like Hartenstein. He plays the center/power forward position. Hartenstein is having an off-year with Denver this year.

Hartenstein is averaging 3.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per game in the 2020-21 NBA season. In the previous season, he averaged 4.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. This is while McGee has increased his offensive production from last year. This year he is averaging eight points, 5.2 rebounds, and one assist per game. In comparison, last year he averaged 6.6 points and 5.7 rebounds.

Overview of the Denver Nuggets-Cleveland Cavaliers Trade

The Denver Nuggets get some Depth and Experience at the Center Position

McGee will play on the bench for Denver as a back-up to three-time NBA All-Star Nikola Jokić. He will bring in championship experience and a veteran presence to their young players including Jamal Murray and Jokić. It is also important to note that McGee is a three-time NBA champion, so he will bring experience to a team wanting to win the NBA Championship. The Nuggets are currently fifth in the Western Conference this season with a record of 26 wins and 18 losses.

In the 2020 NBA playoffs, Denver made the Western Conference Finals including defeating the higher-seeded Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Semifinals. However, they would lose to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals in five games. McGee is very active and is a lob-threat at the rim.

Denver Nuggets Trade Grade: B

The Cleveland Cavaliers get more Draft Picks to Build Their Long-term Future

For Cleveland, Hartenstein will be a down-grade from McGee. Hartenstein averages fewer points, assists, and rebounds per game compared to McGee. However, Hartenstein is much younger than McGee, which makes him more attractive to NBA teams. The key for Cleveland though is the two second-round NBA draft picks. They are currently 12th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 17 wins and 27 losses this season.

Cleveland has also not made the NBA playoffs since the 2017-18 NBA season, which was the last year LeBron James played for the Cavaliers. It is clear that Cleveland is in rebuilding mode, which is why they got two second-round picks from Denver. How well the Cavaliers performed with this trade will depend on how well they use the two second-round picks that they received from the Nuggets.

Cleveland Cavaliers Trade Grade: B

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