When it comes to the Cavaliers, Alonzo Gee has become the hottest name on the roster. Not just in Cleveland, either.
That’s because Gee is a restricted free agent, a small forward with athleticism and repeated appearances on sports shows that feature high-flying dunks.
Mostly, Gee spent the latter part of the season as a starter, proving he’s capable of erupting for big nights when surrounded by the right talent. Gee wasn’t overly consistent, but this was just his third NBA season after going undrafted out of Alabama in 2009.
Before coming to Cleveland, Gee had brief stints as a 10th, 11th or 12th man for the Spurs and Wizards. He was originally signed by the Timberwolves in September 2009, but was waived before the season started.
But after averaging 10.6 points and 5.1 rebounds and showing flashes of lockdown defense this past season, Gee has improved his market value.
Several outlets have reported the Suns are prepared to make a run at Gee — with a source telling The News-Herald the Suns could extend “a four-year, $16 million offer and hope the Cavs don’t match it.”
The Suns, of course, aren’t alone. League sources told FOX Sports Ohio the Wizards, Celtics and Rockets will also enter free agency with Gee high on their wish list.
Meanwhile, since the Cavs have the right to match any offer, they can afford to wait. Their plan likely consists of seeing who falls to them in the draft (they own the No. 4 and No. 24 picks in the first round), then tackling the Gee situation immediately after that.
“They like (Gee) and hope to keep him,” an Eastern Conference general manager said. “But they’re going to have to fight for him, and they know that. I’m guessing a lot of how they approach it will be a result of what they do draft-wise.”
Gee reportedly earned just more than $884,000 last season, playing in 63 of the 66 regular-season games.
— Teams from around the league are also expected to approach the Cavs about obtaining one of their second-round picks. Along with the two first-rounders, the Cavs own the No. 33 and No. 34 picks overall. It seems unlikely, however, they will bring four draft picks to training camp in October. According to multiple sources, the Clippers and Suns have displayed an interest in the Cavs’ second second-round pick.
— Another hot rumor making the rounds is the Cavs potentially trading their fourth overall pick to the Trail Blazers for the sixth and 11th overall selections. Neither team will confirm if those discussions are actually taking place. Those around the league have said they’ve heard nothing to support such talk. “I don’t think the Blazers would do that unless (the Cavs) gave up No. 24, too,” one Western Conference executive said. “It sure sounds good on the Internet, though.”
— As for the idea of the Cavs trading up, don’t bet on it. Neither the Bobcats (No. 2) nor Wizards (No. 3) are currently shopping their picks. Even if they start, it won’t be an easy move. Remember last summer, when the Timberwolves supposedly didn’t want Derrick Williams? They tried shopping the pick, but found nothing they wanted in return, and guess what? They ended up drafting Williams. “With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, (Bradley) Beal and (Thomas) Robinson on the board, it’s gonna take quite a bit to move up, that’s for sure,” one GM said.
— Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova is expected to be among the most sought-after free agents come July. He is already drawing interest from no fewer than 12 teams. Same goes for Nets forward Kris Humphries. Interestingly, the Nets are said to be the frontrunners for Ilyasova. Meanwhile, Humphries is likely to be heavily courted by the likes of the Nuggets, Mavericks and Warriors. Don’t be surprised if the Cavs contemplate a bid for both players, too.