If you are one of those fans in Cleveland that is always looking toward next year, it was a bad day for you yesterday.
Acting Cavaliers’ GM David Griffin decided to continue the team’s pursuit of a playoff spot by acquiring 7’1” center Spencer Hawes from Philadelphia. The price wasn’t extravagant either, as the wine and gold parted with two second round draft picks and two players who aren’t currently in Mike Brown’s rotation: C Henry Sims and F Earl Clark.
Why would anyone complain about that price?
Second round picks in the NBA are like lottery tickets. Sometimes one will pay off, but most times, you throw them away because they are useless.
On the other hand, Hawes is just 25 years old, and averages 13 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, and he definitely can be used as a stretch big man, hitting almost 40% of his shots from outside the arc.
As the owner’s son has been known to say, “What’s not to like?”
Yes, Hawes can be a free agent at the end of this season, so he could be a rental player for the rest of the season. But, neither Sims nor Clark was probably going to be on the roster next season, so really, what did Griffin give up?
Besides, maybe the Cavaliers continue to play well and Hawes wants to stay with the Cavs. We realize the doomsayers can’t fathom that, but it is possible.
Our first thought when the deal was rumored is that Anderson Varejao must be hurt worse than the team is letting on. The newcomer gives Brown another solid big man to go with Tyler Zeller, Tristan Thompson, and Anthony Bennett.
If Varejao can return soon, it means that the coaching staff can cut down on his minutes to around 25 per night, which may just keep him healthier, and should have been the plan for him all along.
And Hawes outside shot should open things up for those guys and Varejao, when he comes back to operate near the basket. Too often, both bigs are in the paint clogging things up so it is difficult for Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters to go to the basket.
Hawes should help immediately, and also provides another veteran who has been around the league for years, like Luol Deng.
Speaking of Deng, there were plenty of rumors about the Cavs shopping him, but no deal was made, which is also a good thing. Mainly because Cleveland still doesn’t have an alternative at the small forward spot.
Yes, we understand Deng is also an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and has made comments, which appear to show he is unhappy here, but if Griffin has a chance to sign him this summer, they have a better shot with Deng spending the balance of the season in Cleveland.
Besides, if the wine and gold can stay hot and make the playoffs in let’s say, the 6th seed, maybe the former Bull looks at a pretty good future here with a lot of young talent, and stable leadership.
Deng would have looked crazy if he would have said he liked it here among all the chaos when he first arrived.
Things change in team sports.
Just a few weeks ago, Irving and Waiters couldn’t stand to play together. Chris Grant gets fired and Dan Gilbert and Griffin have a “come to Jesus” moment with the players, and they look like they actually like each other.
A lot can change by the end of the playoffs, and here’s hoping the young Cavaliers can get their first experience in the post-season.