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Gang’s All Here: Spencer Hawes Accepts Qualifying Offer

Dec 11, 2011, 12:36 PM EDT

The 76ers starting center Spencer Hawes has re-signed with the team for '11-'12.

Amidst all the turmoil in the NBA right now, the Sixers continue to stay
far out of the fray, content to bring back the same group that made an
unexpected run at the playoffs last year. After re-signing Thaddeus
Young and Tony Battie (yes, really) since free agency began two days
ago, the team has now also secured their starting center from last
season, Spencer Hawes. Spence accepted the team’s qualifying offer, of
just over four million dollars, to stay with the Ballers for another
year.

Extending Hawes the qualifying offer was kind of a no-brainer for the
size-depleted Sixers. Battie was the only other potential center on the
roster (unless you count Elton Brand, which, not really), and it’s
unlikely the team would’ve found a starting-caliber big man for such a
reasonable price elsewhere.

Of course, whether or not Spence actually is a starting-caliber center
remains up for debate. He wasn’t exactly a dynamo for the team last year,
averaging just 7.2 points and 5.7 rebounds in 22 minutes a game, while
shooting 47% from the field and an abysmal 53% from the line (though
that was somewhat moot, since he only shot about one free throw a game)
and playing sporadically porous defense. Still, Hawes is young—though
he’s already been in the league for four seasons, he’s only 23—and he
has enough talent that, for a low price in a year where the team isn’t
exactly expected to contend anyway, it’s worth it for the Sixers to take
another look at what they have with him.

And generally, I like the team’s strategy of getting the band back
together, while generally staying out of most trade and free-agency
discussions. True, this has been the team’s strategy for pretty much
every post-season since they splurged on Elton Brand, Lou Williams and
Andre Iguodala back in ’08, but it especially makes sense this year to
make consistency a priority, with such a short training camp and
pre-season.

“With the signing of Spencer, we now have our core returning – a group
that is very familiar with each other, their roles and Coach Collins’
system and philosophies,” said
de facto team GM Rod Thorn of Hawes’ signing. And though it’s not
exactly the ’83 squad that they’re bringing back together, this group of
players does seem to click very well with each other and with Coach
Collins, a chemistry that only seemed to grow as the season went along.

Re-signing Young and Hawes aren’t the kind of moves that put the team
over the top as a title threat, but they should stabilize the team and
make them a likely playoff threat, at the least. Until the team gets out
from Brand and possibly Andre Iguodala’s contract and starts building
in earnest towards a group that may one day contend for a championship,
they should at least be a fun, competitive group to watch in the
meantime. We’re looking forward to watching them this year, anyway.