Thursday, July 26, 2012

Some thoughts on Alonzo Gee

The Cavaliers basically plucked Alonzo Gee out of obscurity in the middle of their awful 2010-2011 season. Last year, he suddenly emerged as one of the team's exciting young players. He dazzled with amazing dunks, and eventually worked his way into the starting lineup.

Now, he is a restricted free agent. There is no doubt that he would have liked to have received a nice multi-year offer from some team, but it hasn't happened. At this point, it probably won't happen. The Plain Dealer reported today that he sees himself staying in Cleveland. In order to do that, he could sign his $2.7 million qualifying offer, which would make him an unrestricted free agent in 2013.

Obviously he would prefer to get a multi-year deal, but the Cavaliers probably don't see any need to offer one at this point. It looks like they plan to keep him at a good price for next season and then re-evaluate things next summer.

That makes some sense, because maintaining financial flexibility has become the cornerstone of how this team operates. But I'd argue that it would also make a lot of sense to try and lock down Gee at a reasonable price for a couple of years while he can still be had for a lower price.

Gee's numbers were solid last season: 10.6 PPG, 41.2 FG%, 32.1 3P%, 5.1 RPG, 13.23 PER. But those numbers don't tell the whole story. Gee played his best basketball from January through March, but sort of tailed off at the end of the season. I can't find the link, but I recall that Byron Scott acknowledged that Gee wasn't in top shape, but it was understandable because he never expected to play that many minutes coming into the season. If he would have finished the season stronger, his numbers could have been even better.

And that reminds me of another thing Coach Scott said about Gee. Toward the end of last season, he said, "[Gee] is definitely the type of person you want in your organization." That quote was buried at the bottom of this Plain Dealer article, but it has really stuck with me.

Byron Scott has been around for a long time. He has seen some things. He has been to the NBA Finals. If he says that somebody is the type of person you want in your organization, then YOU WANT THAT PERSON ON YOUR TEAM.

I'm fine with the Cavaliers being prudent. Even cheap. But don't be cheap with Gee. He's a good guy who has come a long way, and he's earned a payday.

Plus, if reports of Gee working his butt off this summer are accurate, he's about to have a big year. Wouldn't you rather lock him up before he explodes and is out of your price range next summer?

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