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NBA free agency: Warriors met with Spencer Hawes

The Warriors have joined the mix of teams expressing interest in Spencer Hawes, who has been surprisingly popular early in free agency.

Like Channing Frye, Spencer Hawes is a stretch big but his passing ability distinguishes the two.
Like Channing Frye, Spencer Hawes is a stretch big but his passing ability distinguishes the two.
Christian Petersen

The Golden State Warriors have joined a seemingly growing group of teams pursuing free agent Spencer Hawes, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

Based on previous reports, Hawes has drawn interest from the Miami Heat, Portland Trailblazers, L.A. Clippers, Houston Rockets, and Dallas Mavericks in addition to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he played for a portion of this past season.

It's his brief tenure with the Cavs that really stands out in my mind: I was at that awful game at Oracle Arena this past March when the Warriors blew a 17-point first half lead and Hawes scored a team-high 22 points to help the Cavs to a win. Although he was just 1-for-7 from the 3-point line that game, his ability to score out of pick-and-pops and spot-ups devastating to the Warriors on that night - safe to say I'd rather be rooting for a player like that than against him, though that's no reason to actually sign someone.

But Hawes does fit perfectly into an early theme of the free agent season for the Warriors.

What others are saying about Hawes

Between their pursuit of Kevin Love and Channing Frye, it should be clear that the Warriors are serious about their pursuit of a stretch big and Hawes definitely fits that mold. SB Nation's Tom Ziller ranked Hawes 25th in his free agent rankings - just three spots behind Frye - and summed up his value well.

Hawes is a stretch-five who took 300 threes last season, hitting 40 percent of them. He's a mediocre rebounder, decent shotblocker and pretty good passer, as well. His overall defense is dicey. He's basically a bigger, younger Frye without a much shorter track record of hitting his outside shots consistently. He'd be a nice Plan B for teams looking to add some frontcourt shooting.

Where Hawes really does stand apart from Frye is indeed that passing ability that Ziller mentioned: the simplest way to see that in the numbers might be that he's a big who had more assists than turnovers last season while playing for struggling Eastern Conference teams in Cleveland and the Philadelphia 76ers; do a little math and you see he had a pure point right around 0, which is actually quite decent for a big.

That combination of a big who can stretch the floor and pass has Hawes looking for a big payday: according to Brad Turner of the L.A. Times, he's looking for $8 million per year.

That leaves us with almost exactly the same combination of strengths and challenges as we've discussed with previous guys.

Why Hawes makes sense for the Warriors

If new Warriors coach Steve Kerr is able to wants to implement a Princeton/Spurs/triangle-inspired offense, a player like Hawes would appear to be a good fit: he adds another big with passing ability to a rotation that already features Andrew Bogut and David Lee, who are good passers relative to the league's other posts.

Defensively, Hawes is not a top flight rim protector, but he wasn't terrible either; Hawes is a role player and - given the minutes the Warriors have available at his position - he'd probably be a productive player for Kerr in limited minutes.

Why the Warriors might not make sense for Hawes

Again, it's just the money issue: if one of these six other teams pursuing him wants to give him $8 million per year, that will probably put the Warriors in a difficult position. And, realistically, it's not even clear the Warriors should spend $8 million on a player who would come in to be a reserve when they desperately need a reserve guard.

Yet just saying "the Warriors would give him a chance to join a winner!" doesn't really work here: Dallas, Houston, L.A., Miami, and Portland could all be classified as winners, some of whom advanced further than the Warriors in this past year's playoffs. That said, the fact that his last team (Cleveland) is the only non-playoff team he's reportedly considering does suggest he's no longer interested in just being a starter on a bad team: he'd clearly be in a reserve role in all of those situations and playing with the Warriors' current roster - full of shooters and passers, when utilized correctly - could be appealing.

For more on the Warriors' free agent pursuits, check out our 2014 free agency section. To keep track of who's signing where, check out SB Nation's free agent signing tracker.

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