JaVale McGee last played for the 76ers, who released him.(Photo: Bill Streicher, USA TODAY Sports)

JaVale McGee found his playoff contender in an unlikely spot: the Boston Celtics.
The 7-foot center who was released by the Philadelphia 76ers in time to maintain playoff eligibility will sign with the Celtics on a deal that runs through next season, two people with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.
McGee spoke with about 15 teams, looking for a postseason contender and multiyear contract. The Celtics have risen into the Eastern Conference playoff race over the past few weeks and acquired high-scoring point guard Isaiah Thomas from the Phoenix Suns at the trade deadline to further their push. They trail the eighth-place Charlotte Hornets by two games and seventh-place Miami Heat by 2½ games.
“JaVale is a long, athletic guy, and we don’t have that type of player — an above-the-rim offensive and defensive player,” Celtics President Danny Ainge said in a weekly appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub (via ESPN Boston). “He’s been paid a lot of money in our league, had some injuries, hasn’t lived up to his potential yet, and we’re hoping that he can under (Celtics coach Brad Stevens’) tutelage.”

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McGee was waived Sunday by the Sixers but still will be paid in full (about $12 million next season). McGee cleared waivers, as expected, in time to be eligible for postseason play despite not being willing to negotiate a cheaper buyout with the Sixers, who took on his contract in a trade-deadline deal with the Denver Nuggets.
He has averaged 4.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in 11.1 minutes a game this season, only playing 23 games because of injuries and inconsistency. Once seen as a unique prospect because of his athleticism, size and shooting ability, McGee has fallen short of his potential, particularly since being traded from the Washington Wizards to the Nuggets in 2012.
For the Celtics, he joins a crowded frontcourt. Tyler Zeller, who hit a game-winner Wednesday, starts at center, backed up by fellow 7-footer Kelly Olynyk. But Boston lost starting power forward Jared Sullinger for the season, opening up some minutes for Olynyk there. Power forwards Brandon Bass and Jonas Jerebko both are free agents this offseason. ESPN first reported the agreement between …Read More