Portland or Los Angeles?
For even C-list NBA free agents, the choice is a simple one.
Spencer Hawes agreed to a deal with the Clippers on Friday, one that will pay him a very reasonable $23 million over four seasons.
It’s the full mid-level exception, which could have been offered by other teams — and apparently, it was.
From Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com:
Hawes was the Portland Trail Blazers’ primary target when free agency hit earlier this week. General Manager Neil Olshey along with head coach Terry Stotts got first dibs to pitch how the organization could help take his game to the next level. From all accounts, Hawes was extremely impressed with the presentation. …
All Portland could offer Hawes was the midlevel exception, which is what he accepted from the Clippers. In fact, according to league sources, Portland offered Hawes the same exact contract — length and terms – that the Clippers will pay out.
At the end of the day, after stops in Sacramento, Philadelphia and Cleveland, the lure of playing in an area he knows all too well being a Seattle native wasn’t enough to prevent Hawes from seeking out a team on the upswing in a major market such as Los Angeles.
The Blazers have a future every bit as bright as that of the Clippers from a pure basketball standpoint, with Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum acting as a very solid core for a team that knocked off the Rockets to advance to the postseason’s second round.
But with all things being equal, playing in the large market of Los Angeles is almost always going to win out.