Cavaliers Free Agent Priorities. Deng or Hawes?


The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming off of a disastrous season. What started off with such promise, ended on a very sour note. In Kyrie’s third season in the league, everyone expected him to flourish. Instead Kyrie was riddled with internal controversy with Dion Waiters, along with questions of his work ethic and defensive efforts. To top it all off, Kyrie’s best game this year wasn’t even in a Cavs uniform; it was with the Eastern Conference All Stars. That being said the Cavaliers have a lot of decisions to make regarding personnel moving into next season.

The Cavs two trade deadline acquisitions; Luol Deng and Spencer Hawes, are now free agents. The questions being who gets resigned, can we sign both, will either player want to resign?
Deng was a surprise addition to the Cavaliers. It was a move by management (at the time) to push the Cavs into the playoffs. Deng was a proven player that could fit in and contribute immediately. In 40 games for the Cavs, Deng averaged slightly below his career averages in PPG, Minutes, FG%, and rebounds. With a salary of 14.28 million per year, Deng will be a viable option for many teams this offseason. However, I do not think Deng will be back with the Cavaliers.

Deng just turned 29 in April, he is in the prime of his career and he will command all, if not more, than the 14 million per year of his last contract. The Cavs need to find a way to convince Kyrie to stay, but I don’t think Deng is a selling point for Kyrie and an extension. Also, the 14 million for Deng will eat up money that could be used for Kyrie and another potential superstar….Lebron anyone? No, no, no…Lebron isn’t coming back, but that is an argument for another day. The Cavs didn’t lose anything of significance for Deng, so losing him in free agency will not be terrible for the Cavaliers.

Spencer Hawes was an addition that had many fans asking themselves, “Who is Spencer Hawes?”
Hawes happens to be a 7 footer with 3 point range. Unlike Deng, Hawes had better averages across the board in his 27 games with Cleveland. I think Hawes is a better fit for the current roster than Deng. Hawes creates matchup problems for other teams. If he is on the perimeter, other teams can cover him and that opens the lane for Kyrie and Dion, or they can let him shoot. Hawes was .448% for the Cavs from 3pt range. This offensive versatility can create headaches for opposing defenses.

In the long run, Hawes will be a better fit for the Cavs with a cheaper price tag. Deng never felt like a weapon in the Cavs offense. Deng will take away touches from Kyrie and Dion, whereas Hawes will be an outlet for those two guards. If Deng was a 20 point and 10 rebound talent, then I would love to keep him and Hawes, but Deng just doesn’t have the numbers to support 14 million a year. I think the Cavs know this as they have been reported as saying signing Hawes is a priority this offseason. Also Hawes has been quoted as saying he would like to stay.

Sam Amico, NBA columnist for, went to twitter with this quote from Hawes:

Cavs C/F Spencer Hawes, an unrestricted free agent, says he’s very open to returning. “Yeah, for sure. It’s been a positive (experience).”
— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) April 16, 2014

Has anyone heard the Cavs make comments about resigning Deng? Me neither….

Rick Giavonette

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