During a six-game winning streak amidst a disappointing season, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were expected to make a move before the trade deadline yesterday, have acquired Spencer Hawes from the Philadelphia 76ers, giving up Earl Clark, Henry Sims, and two second-round picks.
Hawes, who is averaging 13 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, joins a front court in Cleveland that already boasts Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, and Anthony Bennett.
Anderson Varejao is currently out with a back injury, and has been plagued by injury in the past, most notably last season where the big man missed the last 57 games of the that season with a blog clot in his lower right lung. Tyler Zeller also had a spell with injuries in the early part of this season. A hip strain in the intrasquad scrimmage in October was followed by appendicitis that forced Zeller to miss the remainder of the preseason camp. There have also been a few minor injuries this season that had him missing games sporadically. These injuries, along with the uncertainty of Anthony Bennett have led the Cleveland Cavaliers to reevaluate their front court, and with this came the decision to trade for Spencer Hawes.
Hawes, at 7’1, makes the Cavaliers, who are already a top 10 rebounding team, an even bigger threat on the boards than they already are.
With all the locker room problems in Cleveland this season, it looked as if the Cavaliers would go after a veteran that would bring a leadership presence and playoff experience. The Cavs are currently three games out of the eighth seed, and Hawes was brought it in hopes that he can prove effective in a playoff series. He played in 13 playoff games in 2012, starting in 12 of them, and averaged a very solid 9.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest in his second starting playoff experience and fifth year in the league; this includes games of 11 and 14, as well as two 20 point outings in Philadelphia’s first-round efforts to defeat the Chicago Bulls.
So, Hawes has proven he can perform in the playoffs, which helps with the tremendously unexperienced Cavaliers front court, with Anderson Varejao being the only current Cav big man to see the playoffs. If the Cleveland Cavaliers can grind out the rest of this season at their current pace and make the playoffs, Spencer Hawes will prove to be a great first move for David Griffin, who could become the GM permanently if he can help the Cavaliers’ organization turn this season around. This move could be the first of many, if that is the case.