The Cleveland Cavaliers informed the rest of the Association, that they have yet to give up on making the Post Season this spring, completing a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers just prior to the NBA trade deadline Thursday afternoon. The “Cleveland Plain Dealer” has reported that Cavaliers interim General Manager David Griffin acquired Sixers center Spencer Hawes, in return for veteran forward Earl Clark, backup center Henry Sims and two future NBA second round Draft picks. Although acquiring Hawes, most likely will not set Cleveland fan’s hearts aflutter; they filled a position of need with a player that should be up to the task.
The new Cleveland pivot-man is a multi-dimensional player, a true seven-footer who knows his way around the basket, but also is quite comfortable taking an outside shot. The 25-year-old big man has held his own so far in this campaign, as he has averaged 13.0, 8.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists in his 53 games for Philadelphia. If he can keep up those numbers in his new home, it would greatly elevate the club’s chances of making the Playoffs in April.
Perhaps the best aspect of this eleventh hour transaction, is that Cleveland did not lose any core players in the deal. Clark did a nice job as a forward off the bench, while Sims showed very little during his infrequent time on the hardwood. It is similar to the deal that brought starting forward Luol Deng from the Chicago Bulls earlier in the campaign; low risk which could reap some pretty high rewards.
Although Anderson Varejao has earned tons of respect manning the center position over the last few seasons, his lack of size and strength leads to frequent stints on the injured list. This move gives Cleveland the luxury of playing Varejao off the bench as a backup center; making him far more effective against the lesser competition he would face. The Cavaliers could also allow him to play more minutes at his natural position in the four slot.
This move will not cause Cavaliers fans to set off fireworks in Public Square, however it could turn out to be the difference between heading home after 82-games, or making their first Post Season appearance since 2010.