As reported first by John Telich of Fox 8 News, small forward Alonzo Gee and the Cleveland Cavaliers are very close to terms on a three-year, $9.8 million deal. There is also a fourth-year option involved as well. This offer has reportedly been on the table for some time, and would erase the $2.7 million qualifying offer that the Cavaliers offered the restricted free agent.
According to Kurt Helin of NBC Sports, Gee had been aware of the offer and was testing the market for a better deal. Once free agency started, a report surfaced that the Phoenix suns were interested in the Cavaliers wing player. Talks ceased, and the Suns looked to higher profile free agents to add to their rebuilt roster. Gee drew little interest from other teams, as this summer was filled with more desirable and big-name players on the move.
The Cavaliers struggled to add defensive depth to their roster this offseason, so bringing back Gee was pretty important at this point in free agency. The Cavaliers added possible swingmen in C.J. Miles and Kelenna Azubuike, but Miles is more of an offensive asset while Azubuike has struggled with injury troubles in the past. Azubuike was acquired from the Dallas Mavericks in the draft-day trade that landed the Cavaliers Tyler Zeller.
Gee has worked hard to get to this point in his career, winning the 2010 D-League Rookie of the Year and playing with two teams (Washington Wizards and San Antonio Spurs) prior to landing with the Cavaliers in midst of the 2010-11 NBA season.
It was only a matter of time before the athletic SF signed with the Cavaliers, as he held out to see if he could get a better offer. In that case I still believe the Cavaliers would match that offer and bring back Gee because they know best of the potential that the 25-year-old forward has. Although he shot 41.2 percent from the field, his mid and long-range jumpers showed vast improvements toward the end of last season. That’s because he took over Omri Casspi’s starting role at three, accumulating 31 starts throughout the 2011-12 season.
I love that the Cavaliers are bringing Gee back, and I think he will fight the hardest for a starting role on the 2012-13 Cavaliers roster.