HAWES, FARMAR ‘EXCITED’ TO JOIN CLIPPERS
Eric Patten, Clippers.com
PLAYA VISTA – Shortly before their introductory news conference, Spencer Hawes and Jordan Farmar walked from a side door near the Clippers’ weight room and stepped on the practice floor for the first time at their new digs.
Of course, they weren’t in uniform, that would come about half an hour later, but Hawes, dressed in a blue-gray suit, white shirt and broad silver belt buckle, and Farmar, wearing a checkered button-down and khaki pants, were all smiles.
The duo both officially signed free-agent contracts with the Clippers Thursday, several days after their deals were reported during the NBA’s mandated July moratorium. And from their reaction walking into the training center to the expressions on their faces when addressing the media, Farmar and Hawes seem prepared for something special.
“For me, I’m definitely excited to be here,” Farmar said in his opening statement. “The potential for great things to happen within this organization is really what helped make my decision easy.”
Hawes said, “Similar to Jordan, [I’m] just thrilled to be here. The opportunity to come into an organization and team and group of guys that’s right on precipice of taking that next step, and seeing how I can fit and hopefully contribute to that is extremely exciting for me.”
Excited, or some form of the word, carried most of the 30-minute press gathering.
Doc Rivers was “really excited” to work with them. Hawes echoed similar feelings about his potential role playing behind, and alongside, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin. And Farmar was excited to stay in his hometown of Los Angeles with a chance to win a third NBA title.
An opportunity to win is what ultimately swung, Hawes, who split last season between Philadelphia and Cleveland two teams that failed to make the Playoffs.
“Being a little bit longer in my career now, you start looking at situations to win and situations to play on a veteran team, an established team,” Hawes said. “That opportunity to win is the one thing that kept coming back, and sort of leap-frogged in front of everything else.
“[Losing] wears on you. When you wake up every day and you’re sort of staring down the barrel of that kind of situation it can drain you definitely. And having a taste of [winning] in Philly a few years back, only kind of instills it even more, knowing how much fun it is in that situation.”
Hawes, a 7-foot-1 center with 3-point range, played three and a half seasons with the 76ers before being dealt to Cleveland near February’s trade deadline. He’s appeared in 18 postseason games, including reaching Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2012, but spent last season toiling on one of the league’s worst teams.
Still, his skillset and ability to stretch the floor as a 36.1 percent career 3-point shooter, should mesh well with the high-flying Griffin and Jordan tandem.
“The way I play will be a complement to those guys,” Hawes said. “The pressure they put on a defense every time either one of them roll to the hoop. I think being able to play with either one of those guys and space the floor and make it easier not just for them, but for everybody else.”
Farmar, who has spent nearly his entire basketball life in Los Angeles and vicinity having played at Taft High, collegiately at UCLA and five of his seven seasons with the Lakers, is expected to fill a similar role to the recently departed Darren Collison. In his one year with the Clippers, Collison proved a versatile backup behind Chris Paul, playing both off the ball as well as point guard. It’s something the 27-year-old Farmar thinks he can replicate.
“I’m sure we’ll spend a lot of time together,” Farmar said of Paul. “He called me this morning when I was on my way to my physical. I’m looking forward to getting to know him much better and sharing the point guard duties to help lead this team.”
The way both players fit is why Rivers was on the phone with them at 9:01 p.m. PT on June 30, the earliest possible time teams were permitted to negotiate with free agents.
“I thought they were a good fit for the way we play, both of them,” Rivers said. “Shooting is obviously very important to all teams. I think they both have that. I like that they’ve been in the league. They have experience.”
And, of course, they’re both excited to be in Los Angeles.