It was beginning to look like a boring summer for the Los Angeles clippers in the free agent market, but it now appears the Clippers had one move in them. By using their full mid level exception, LAC came to terms with former Philadelphia 76ers’ and Cleveland Cavaliers’ starting center Spencer Hawes to a 4 year $23 million deal.
According to ESPN, the Clippers front office had targeted Hawes before last season’s trade deadline. Doc Rivers has noted the importance of acquiring of a big man who can stretch the floor.. Hawes averaged 13.2 points per game last season playing for both Philadelphia and Cleveland. He also shot over 40% from behind the arc(45% during his time in Cleveland).
The Clippers front line was stretched thin last year, past Glen Davis they were not bringing a whole lot of productivity off the bench. Hawes will see a lot of minutes, and in the event either of the two starting big men get injured Hawes can be inserted into either spot because of his skill set.
Hawes also experienced a career high in rebounds last year averaging 8.5 per contest as well as a career high in assists with 3.3 per game, making it clear the Clippers are getting a 26 year old who is nearing, if not in, the peak of his career. The Clippers tried to use a stretch center last year in Byron Mullens, but because of his defensive issues he was too much of a liability despite his offensive skill set. Mullens was eventually shipped to Philadelphia for a future 2nd round pick.
While the Clippers could sign Hawes on July 10th, the day the contract moratorium ends, there is still a chance Hawes could be acquired in a sign and trade deal with Cleveland reports Sam Amick of USA today. The chances of this are rather slim, but if that were the case Hawes financial figures would be adjusted. Hawes chose the Clippers over a pair of other western conference teams in the Suns and Blazers(via Adrian Wojnarowski).
With Chris Paul’s ability to penetrate, Hawes will be seeing many open shots on the perimeter and hopefully provide the Clippers with some toughness off the bench as well. Due to DeAndre Jordan’s limited offensive skill set, Spencer Hawes is a great addition to the Clippers because he force opposing players big men to cover two different kinds of centers. This will help Doc Rivers uncover opponents defensive weaknesses and exploit them.