NBA News: Cavs’ Marreese Speights opts out of contract and will become free agent

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting the Cavs’ Marreese Speights has opted out of the last year of his contract and will test free agency.

Speights,  due to make $4.5 million in 2013-14, sparked a much needed resurgence from the Cavaliers’ bench when he was acquired along with Wayne Ellington from Memphis back in January. In each of his first seven games as a Cavalier, Speights scored in double figures, including two double digit rebound games. He provided a much needed offensive option for Cleveland down in the paint, something Zeller and Thompson had been struggling to do consistently.

Consistency also became Speights’ biggest issue. Speights would mentally check out for whole halves and even games at a time, constraining the talented big man to long stretches on the bench for Byron Scott. For as well as Speights started his career as a Cavalier he ended it equally as bad. While Speights was in double figures in each of his first seven games, he failed to hit that mark in any of his final seven games in the Wine and Gold.

Nonetheless Speights has shown he can play at a high level for extended stints and he should garner some interest on the free agent market. The $4.5 million he was set to make in the final year of his contract with the Cavs is most likely less than he’ll get on the open market.

Also, with the Cavs using the first pick in the draft on power forward Anthony Bennett, Speights would have a hard time finding minutes in a rotation that is set to feature Bennett, Tristan Thompson, Andy Varejao, and Tyler Zeller.

The Cavs still have a team option to decide on with CJ Miles and are expected to re-sign Wayne Ellington to a $3 million qualifying offer. With the departures of Speights and Miles, and the resigning of Ellington the Cavaliers would have just under $26 million in cap space this summer.

Free agency begins Monday, July 1.

[Related: The NBA draft may be complete but Chris Grant’s job is just getting started]

 [Related: Saturday Six Pack: Reasons to love Anthony Bennett]

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Cavaliers have their much improved version of Speights named Anthony Bennett!

  • Ben Frambaugh

    Maybe long term…but early on, I suspect the rookie will struggle. Still, with Anthony Bennett in the mix, there’s much less of a need for another big (Andy, TT, Zeller and Bennett form the new core…) If they need an additional few minutes to go somewhere, they can bring back Kevin Jones cheap.
    Not surprised that Speights opted out and don’t blame the guy. I think it’s fairly obvious that he played his way into a better contract this season (long term.) Odds are, this was his best chance to cash in.