Apr 14, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Marreese Speights (15) handles the ball against Philadelphia 76ers power forward Arnett Moultrie (5) during the first quarter at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
As of today, Marreese Speights is not a Cleveland Cavalier. Speights has declined his player option, which enables him to become a free agent. This past season, Speights averaged 18.5 PPG and 5.1 RPG for the Cavs. Coming off the bench, Speights was a player that would give great energy and do his part; every team needs a guy like this on their roster. Speights was also a key part to the Cavs’ offense. He would give Kyrie Irving great passing lanes a guy that can rebound and play defensive when he wants. On the offensive end Speights spent time falling in love with his 15 foot jumper. But nonetheless, Speights is not a Cleveland Cavalier anymore.
The Cavs will have to look to free agency to find a replacement for Speights since he brought so much to their team. Some guys on the market are Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap, Thomas Robinson is available on the trade market. These guys would be a great addition to the Cavs, but only one is ideal. If the Cavs did sign Jefferson, he would want a max contract. A max contract just isn’t in the cards right now for the Cavs. They want a guy like Jefferson, but want him for a more reasonable price. Milsap will also be looking for a large pay day as well, and will probably pass on the high years and dollars. However, there Robinson too. He has been jumping around the league ever since he was drafted last year. He was drafted by the Kings, played for them a little bit, then around mid-season he was traded to the Rockets. Now it seems like the Rockets don’t want him either because they are trying to make room for Dwight Howard, a player they are really high on signing. I don’t know why Robinson is being tossed around, he is a good player. If the Cavs do trade for Robinson though, then they can get him for a reasonable price and also he is a quality big man. Robinson can be a good duo with Tristan Thompson down low while the two of them along with draft pick Anthony Bennett are somewhat undersized for the power forward position. These are just some of the options the Cavs will look at this off-season.
With Speights, he may not have a lot of value on the market. Speights is not a starter in the NBA. He is a great role player to have, but certainly not a starter. The only places that he may have value are the teams at the bottom of the eastern conference like the Bobcats, Magic and Wizards. I could see the Bobcats signing Speights because he could pair up with draft pick, Cody Zeller, down low. The Bobcats is the best place for Speights to right now because they are a rebuilding organization and having Speights could certainly help out their cause.
The Cavs and Speights had a good run this past season. Personally, I saw him as our best role player on the team. Unfortunately he is a free agent as of today. And unfortunately for many Cavs fans, he is not a Cavalier anymore. Fortunately we get to remember that the Cavs acquired Speights along with Wayne Ellington and a future 1st Round Pick for Jon Leuer last year, so losing him isn’t a significant loss of a asset. The Cavs will give Ellington a qualifying offer and still have the 1st round pick coming in the future all for a backup power forward who would have no position on the team this year.