Dealing at the Deadline

February 20, 2014
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David Griffin

The Wine and Gold rolled into Thursday’s Trade Deadline on a six-game winning streak, but as the squad headed north of the border for a Friday night matchup with the Raptors, the Cavaliers’ brass moved to bolster the roster.

As the Cavs head into the season’s homestretch, they fortified (and diversified) their frontline, acquiring center Spencer Hawes from the Sixers in exchange for Earl Clark, Henry Sims and a pair of second-round draft picks.

The 25-year-old Hawes has started all 53 games for Philadelphia this season and is having one of best seasons as a pro – averaging career highs of 13.0 points, 8.5 boards and 3.3 assists (most among all NBA centers) per contest. Hawes is also shooting .399 from long-distance and .782 from the stripe, both career highs.

Hawes is scheduled to shootaround with the team on Friday morning in Toronto and be on the active roster as the Cavs look to run their win streak to seven.

Cavaliers Acting General Manager David Griffin spoke about the trade on Thursday afternoon at the Cleveland Clinic Courts and how his first official acquisition as GM will fit in with the Wine and Gold.

“(Hawes is) a player that we look at as being really a good complimentary fit to what we do from a frontcourt standpoint,” said Griffin. “In terms of floor-spacing, in terms of passing, basketball IQ, he compliments each of our bigs really, really well. And more importantly, I think the additional floor-spacing complements the really special talents that we have from a ball-dominant penetration side.

“We’re a draw-and-kick team and we need to open the floor and make it easier for those guys”


Watch Media Availability: David Griffin Talks Trade Deadline

Hawes has a different skill-set than the Cavaliers’ other bigs in his ability to step outside the arc. He’s at 40 percent from three-point range this season and has the third-most career three-point field goals made (194) among any player listed 7-0 or taller in NBA history – behind only Dirk Nowitzki (1,425) and Andrea Bargnani (609).

“This is about growing this group over an extended period of time and how we evolve as players,” said Griffin. “And we believe by doing this move that we’re going to learn a lot more about the kids that we already have on the team, because this’ll make the game easier for them to play. And we think by putting Spencer in a situation, with the talent that we have amassed here and their particular skill-sets, we’ll see the best of Spencer.”

After one year at Washington, the Seattle native was drafted No. 10 overall by the Kings in the 2007 Draft. Over his six-year career, Hawes has averaged 9.4 points, 6.3 boards, 2.0 assists and 1.1 blocks in 473 games. He also has some playoff experience – starting 17 playoff games with Philly, averaging 8.2 points and 5.8 boards per contest.

The Cavaliers part ways with Earl Clark, who started the first six games for Cleveland after inking a free agent deal in July. But Clark’s minutes had begun to diminish over the past few weeks, seeing action in only four games since January 28 and notching double-figures just once in the calendar year 2014.

Henry Sims had been going the other way, seeing action in each of Cleveland’s last four games – and playing pretty well – after catching on with the squad in October as a Training Camp invitee. The two second round picks were Cleveland’s 2014 second-rounder and the Grizzlies 2014 second round pick acquired in July 25, 2012 trade with Memphis.

Hawes has been steady all year for a Philadelphia team that hasn’t been. He ranks eighth in the Eastern Conference in blocked shots at 1.3 bpg and is tied for ninth in double-doubles with 19 on the season. He’s one of just four players (Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol and Paul Millsap) this season with averages of at least 13.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 block.

With veteran Anderson Varejao nursing a sore back, Hawes will provide some much-needed depth to Cleveland’s collection of bigs.

“(Varejao) gives you everything he has every second that he’s on the floor; you’re not going to dial that back, and that’s what you love about him,” said Griffin. “But we also need to be really pragmatic about the fact that we need to put a group of bigs out there that can sustain when Anderson sits down. And we would like to, as he’s continued to age, to give him fewer minutes and pair him with things that make his life easier too.”

Hawes – like the last player Cleveland acquired in a trade, Luol Deng – is in the final year of his contract. But that’s something Griffin and the Cavaliers hope to focus on after the season.

“If we build the kind of environment we want to build and these pieces fit together, decisions like people staying or going take care of themselves,” concluded Griffin. “Because it becomes obvious what has to happen.”

The second half of the season is already off to a riveting start. And on Friday night, with a new big man in the Wine and Gold fold, it’s about get even more interesting.