Before making that decision, he phoned Alonzo Gee, whom Speights has known since high school. He spent so much time working out for the Cavs before the 2008 draft, Speights was convinced he was coming here. Then the 76ers took him 16th, leaving the Cavs to take J.J. Hickson at No. 19.
So when he was presented with the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to come to Cleveland, it didn't take long for Speights to agree.
“I could've rejected the trade but I didn't,” Speights said. “I came here because I knew it was a young team, a great city, great fans and I always wanted to be here.”
He has a $4.5 million option for next season, but can decline it and elect for free agency in a year when more teams are expected to have cap space. That has led to persistent rumors the Cavs could deal him before the trade deadline, but for now, he's already an integral piece to the rotation.
His minutes were inconsistent in Memphis, but he has a much larger role already with the Cavs.
“I'm learning a lot more about him than I knew when we got him, and I love what I see,” Scott said. “He's a great kid around these guys — very, very vocal. That's something that we need. And he has some experience. He's been in the league for a little while.”
Speights has scored in double figures in all five games and has totaled 77 points. He scored 87 points during the month of January with the Grizzlies.
“This team is young and up and coming,” Speights said. “Great point guard, great coach and a great city to play in.”
Distributed by MCT Information Services