Cleveland Cavaliers Trade for Spencer Hawes First Win for David Griffin

Updated: February 20, 2014

As the NBA Trade Deadline ticks away, the Cleveland Cavaliers finally made their first move—and it was one they hadn’t been linked to beforehand. On Thursday, the Cavaliers agreed to a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers that would bring them center Spencer Hawes for Earl Clark, Henry Sims and two future second-round picks.

Many thought interim general manager, David Griffin, would make a splashy deal to try to put his stamp on his inherited franchise from former general manager Chris Grant. And while that still may be the case—rumors have it the Cavaliers are still working on deals to move Luol Deng, Tyler Zeller and Jarrett Jack—this deal is a win-win situation for Griffin in his first move.

Acquiring Hawes bolsters a Cavaliers front court which has lacked a stretch center for quite some time. Zeller was supposed to be that guy, but up until recently he has been a non-factor of sorts for the Cavaliers. While Anderson Varejao can knock down the perimeter shot on occasion, he has nowhere near the range and ability to step out and hit a three-point shot like Hawes can.

On top of what Hawes brings to the Cavaliers on the offense end (averaging over 13 points and eight rebounds this season), his contract does not ruin future free agency and salary cap flexibility—a major coup in the eyes of this writer. His $6.5 million contract is expiring at the end of the year, so the Cavs will have the option to re-sign him to a multi-year deal or let him walk and dedicate that money elsewhere.

Breaking down what the Cavaliers gave up for Hawes, it isn’t much in terms of production or draft picks. After signing Clark to a two-year deal in the offseason, the Cavaliers thought they were getting a two-way player with the ability to serve the “stretch four” position in the offense. Clark showed flashes of that at times, but never lived up to the $4.2 million per season contract given to him in the offseason. With a team option for next season, the Cavaliers rid themselves of even entertaining the decision to keep him a few months early.

As for Sims and the two second-round draft picks, those are pretty much irrelevant throw-ins on the Cavaliers side of things. Sims has played sparingly and was pretty much just a roster spot fill-in. He did play solid minutes when needed, but it was apparent he wasn’t a long-term option on the roster.

The second-round draft picks, the aspect of this deal that Philadelphia really wanted, were meaningless to the Cavaliers as they have plenty of them to deal away. Let’s face it, with a young roster already the Cavaliers weren’t going to use four second-round picks (two given up in the Chicago trade as well) to add borderline NBA players to their roster. For comparisons sake, second-round selections are equivalent to sixth or seventh-round picks in the NFL—complete hit or miss, with the emphasis going on the miss.

While there are still roughly two hours left before the deadline, the Cavaliers and Griffin have started things out in a nice way. Hopefully the next deal—if there is one—will provide plenty of positive things to write about as well.

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