The Associated Press

LeBron James Admits He Wanted JaVale McGee to Join Lakers After Playing Against Him in NBA Finals

LeBron James discloses the reason he lobbied the Lakers to sign JaVale McGee.

He might be the steal of the offseason. 

Lakers center JaVale McGee is quickly becoming a fan favorite in Los Angeles, but there's one person who isn't surprised by the Big Man's numbers this season. 

LeBron James revealed earlier this week that he lobbied the Lakers front office to sign the 30-year-old center as a free agent this offseason because of his recent history of playing against him in the NBA Finals.

"I played against him in the last two NBA Finals and I wanted him on this team because I know what he brings," James told the Associated Press. "It's his energy, his energy level, his ability at the rim. If you don't have that on your team, you're not going to have much, man. You need to have people with high IQ, which he's got. That's why I wanted JaVale to be part of this team."

McGee is having his best NBA season for the Lakers, averaging career-highs in points (13.4), rebounds (6.6), assists (1.1), field goal percentage (63.7%), and free throw percentage (66.7%).

He currently ranks third in the NBA in blocks, fifth in field goal percentage, and 19th in offensive rebounds. With those stats, its' easy to see why McGee is considered to be one of the seals of the offseason.

"He's been great," said Lakers head coach Luke Walton of "The Big Daddy Wookie." "He's been professional. He's taking care of himself. He's vocal in the locker rooms and the huddles, he's been producing for us, obviously his shot blocking has been a big part of us having some success on defense. We're very pleased with JaVale." 

McGee admits he's grown and matured as a player after winning back-to-back championships with the Golden State Warriors. The 7-foot center out from Michigan had a lot of options in free agency, but admits that when the King calls and says he wants to play with you, you take note. 

"He could have said 'get anybody,'" said McGee. "It's just a reassuring feeling, a confidence builder I guess, knowing that you're going into a situation wanted as an option, like you're really wanted. That's pretty dope."

McGee has been an anchor on defense and is a big part of the reason why the Lakers are three games above .500 for the first time since 2013. Now, with the addition of veteran center Tyson Chandler, McGee will be able to continue to grow and learn from one of the best defensive centers in the game.

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