It might not qualify as a major splash, but the Philadelphia 76ers have agreed to terms on a two-year contract with Spencer Hawes. The deal ensures that the center will be a part of the team going forward.
As a fan, I have some mixed feelings about this deal. While I like Hawes as a player, I am very concerned about his durability. In addition, he doesn't match up very well against the elite centers in the league. However, this was probably the right move for the 76ers, considering that there weren't many other options out there. If Hawes can stay healthy, he might end up being a bargain. In my opinion, that will be easier said than done.
Hawes got off to a hot start last season. In fact, he was the team's MVP through the first dozen games. Hawes was a regular double-double guy that also led the league in field goal percentage for a short time. However, a series of injuries related to his back and knees knocked him out in early January. Though he returned, Hawes did miss about half of the season because of those injuries. His numbers never came close to matching what he did at the start of the season. Hawes ended up averaging 9.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. That's certainly not enough production from your starting center. He had a couple of nice playoff games in the first round but disappeared in the second-round series against the Boston Celtics. Basically, he turned out to be a player that the 76ers couldn't count on every day.
I am optimistic that Hawes can be better next season. I'm not surprised that the 76ers re-signed him. They were never going to get Dwight Howard and there weren't any other strong centers available. They aren't paying Hawes a ton of money so the risk is minimal. I don't think anyone should be complaining too much about this deal. That said, Hawes needs to work out during the offseason to ensure that he's in the best shape possible. If his body breaks down again, the 76ers will be in trouble. If we end up seeing the same player that we saw at the beginning of last season, this deal will be a bargain. I don't think Hawes can play like that consistently, but I do think he can hold his own and make a positive impact with the team.
* - Mark Paul is a Philadelphia resident and lifelong 76ers fan.