In our “What’s Next” series, a Right Down Euclid writer will look at each individual member of the Cleveland Cavaliers by analyzing what their future looks like and/or what’s the next step in their development. In this piece, Chris Manning looks at noted bricklayer Alonzo Gee.
Alonzo Gee had his use. Had, as in the past tense of has. Signed in 2010 after playing in the D-League and on a few 10-day contracts, Gee was a gap-filling player that was given an opportunity to develop into a rotation player with the Cavs.
Considering how bad the post-LeBron James were (and kind of still are) playing Gee as much both Byron Scott and Mike Brown did is defensible. It is arguable that, at least last season, he was the Cavs’ best wing defender. Even this season, pre-Luol Deng, Gee still held that title and considering the struggles of Earl Clark, the best small forward on the Cavs.
This past season, the Cavs paid Gee a salary of $3.25 million. That’s more than C.J. Miles, who made $2.225 million. Gee’s salary for last season was also around $600,000 less than what Dion Waiters made. Even though he had his role, Gee was not worth the salary he made. He’s a bad offensive player and, in the grand scheme of things, not really a good wing defender. If he is the guy you’re using to defend the opponent’s best scorer in crunch time, that’s a problem. And then there is his shot chart.
As it shows, he’s a bad, bad shooter. He only has one area that is above league average and you can’t even put stick into it considering the small sample size. Everywhere else is either yellow (comparable to league average) or red (below league average). And there is far more red than yellow.
Again, it’s fair to note that the Cavs, all things considered, had to play Gee. Clark’s play was disappointing to say the least and Miles missed the final stretch of the season with an ankle injury. Someone had to back up Deng, who was a letdown in his own right.
But heading into next season, Gee is set to be paid $3 million. His salary, however, is non-guaranteed. In all likelihood, we have seen the last of Gee in Cleveland. He’s easily upgradeable, either through the draft or free agency. Hypothetically, let’s say Cleveland takes Joel Embiid No. 1. A combination of Glenn Robinson III (who the Cavs could take at No. 33, ironically the jersey number Gee wore/wears) and a vet like Thabo Sefolosha or Cartier Martin is far better than Gee. Factor in the possible resigning of Miles and it’s clear the Cavs really don’t need Gee.
And if the Cavs select either Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker with the top pick and also re-sign Miles/sign someone like Sefolosha or Martin? You can use that $3 million on someone else in free agency or use it to justify bringing back the aging Anderson Varejao at upwards of $9 million next season. That $3 million has real use, just not for the guy it is currently slotted to go to. Gee can lay bricks somewhere else next season.