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Celtics close to signing JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee (center) was traded from the Nuggets to the 76ers at the trade deadline, then waived last weekend.Getty Images

The Celtics are close to signing free agent center JaVale McGee, two sources confirmed to the Globe. Both sources indicated that, barring a snag, the deal could be completed sometime Thursday.

“There are still some hurdles to move through,” one source said. “But it’s moving in that direction.”

The Celtics have had multiple conversations with McGee in recent days, one league source said. He was waived by the 76ers last weekend after being acquired from the Denver Nuggets prior to the trade deadline. Since he was let go prior to March 1, he is eligible to compete in the postseason.


During his weekly appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge spoke highly of McGee.

“JaVale is a long, athletic guy, and we don’t have that type of player, an above-the-rim offensive and defensive player,” Ainge said.

McGee was selected by the Washington Wizards with the 18th pick of the 2008 draft and has averaged 8.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game over seven NBA seasons. He developed a reputation for big dunks and big blocks, but has yet to reach the potential he has shown during these bursts.

McGee had his finest season in 2011-12, averaging 11.3 points and 7.8 rebounds for the Wizards and the Nuggets. But he has been hampered by injuries — including a broken leg — and has played a total of just 28 games over the last two years.

For the Celtics, McGee would be a low-risk and potentially high-reward acquisition. With forward Jared Sullinger’s season-ending foot injury, Boston is thin in the frontcourt, although 7-footer Kelly Olynyk returned Wednesday after missing 18 games with a sprained ankle.

To make room for McGee, the Celtics would have to clear a roster spot. Veteran forward Shavlik Randolph, who was deactivated when Olynyk returned, and forward Luigi Datome, who was acquired from the Pistons as part of the Tayshaun Prince trade Feb. 19, could be candidates to be waived.


Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.