CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 26: Tristan Thompson #13 of the Cleveland Cavaliers taps Alonzo Gee #33 on the head after a play against the Toronto Raptors during the season opener at Quicken Loans Arena on December 26, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
On Friday, I laid out some key questions around the upcoming restricted free agency of Cavaliers forward Alonzo Gee. Is he worth keeping around? What happens if there's a bidding war for his services? What's his role on this team going forward? Fear the Sword readers spoke out and here are the answers:
By the looks of Friday's poll, Alonzo Gee's played his way into Cavalier fans hearts, with 68% of Fear the Sword readers opting to re-sign the forward for a second contract. Of course, the question here was never really about simply resigning Alonzo, it was more about at what point do the Cavaliers bow out of the bidding war that is sure to erupt.
The discussion brought up a lot of good points. Benevolent Fear the Sword Dicatator, err, I mean Editor, Conrad chimed in to comment how the results of the draft will change this answer significantly. And he brings up a very good point. If the Cavaliers wind up bringing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on board, the need for a guy like Alonzo drops significantly, as would the Cavaliers willingness to pay him.
Besides that point though, fans were split. There were some who thought Alonzo's upside is limitless and therefore the Cavaliers should match the rumored $4M offer that will be coming from Phoenix to keep him on board. Others questioned whether $4M was really enough to break the Cavaliers bank and rightfully pointed out that the Cavaliers will still have plenty of cap space if they pay Alonzo that much. And then of course there were those who were cautious, who feared regression and warned that the Cavaliers should be wary of paying Alonzo based upon a few month long streak of great play.
Where do I fall on this matter? I'll explain after the jump.
My Opinion: Keep (to the Budget): Like many Cavs fans, I was impressed with Alonzo's progression to start the season. For a few week period, I was beginning to wonder if the Cavaliers had a solid SF to build around and were a bit further ahead with their rebuilding project than everyone first thought at the beginning of the season. Then, there was the second half of the season. Alonzo's 3P% dropped off, his drives to the rim became more erratic and he began to look a lot more like the guy I remembered from last season. That said, I'm still high on the guy and believe that he's a worthy project to invest a bit more time and energy into as he showed some real flashes of being able to play at a higher level.
But the Cavaliers can't pay too much for him. And sadly, I think $4M is too much. Everyone who posted about the Cavaliers cap space were absolutely correct, resigning Alonzo at that price won't significantly impact the Cavs ability to bring on a big name free agent. But you know what it would do? It'd kill the Cavs ability to bring in a big name free agent and a guy with a Baron Davis, Jason Kapono or Luke Walton contract.
You have to remember, the only reason the Cavaliers have Kyrie Irving is because they were willing and able to take Baron Davis and his monster contract off the Clippers hands. The only reason they have a second first round draft pick this year is because they had the cap space to take Kapono and Walton of the Lakers hands. Sure, the difference between paying Alonzo $2.5M a year and $4M is small when looking at the cap space needed to bring one FA signing on board, but it's enough where it can put a dent in the Cavaliers ability to buy first round draft picks. And given how close the Cavs were to the eighth seed when Anderson Varejao was healthy, you have to realize that with an Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal or Harrison Barnes on this team, the Cavaliers probably won't be seeing another top five pick based upon their own record anytime soon.
The Cavs have to keep money and cap space on the table if they're going to do this rebuild correctly. While Alonzo Gee is a good player, and I'd like to see him in the wine and gold for a few more years, I also want to watch a winner. And unfortunately for Alonzo, if it comes down to overpaying him or having the ability to buy another first round draft pick, I side with the draft pick.
What about you? Are there some intangibles or something else I'm missing? Sound off below.