Report: Bucks to waive, stretch Spencer Hawes to get under luxury tax

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Most NBA owners say they are willing to pay the luxury tax if they have a contender, it’s the cost of winning. Next season the Warriors and Cavaliers are way over the tax line (both by more than $18 million) and their owners will pay it.

The Milwaukee Bucks are about $2.2 million over the tax line, and while they have an up-and-coming team with Giannis Antetokounmpo, they are not contenders. Their owners don’t want to pay, and that means goodbye to Spencer Hawes, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

In order to move beneath the luxury-tax threshold, the Milwaukee Bucks waived 7-footer Spencer Hawes, league sources told ESPN.

The Bucks will use the stretch provision to spread the balance of Hawes’ $6.2 million salary this season over three years, sparing the franchise the full salary-cap hit this year.

The move has the Bucks a couple million under the tax line, but still with two open roster spots (they are $2.5 million under the line now with 13 guaranteed deals). The Bucks will fill those spots with a minimum contract for young players to stay under the tax. (Technically they have until the end of the season to get under the tax line to avoid paying it, so there could be future moves.)

The Bucks picked up Hawes is a trade with Charlotte last season at the deadline.

It’s likely some team will grab Hawes as a backup big man for this season because he brings a very specific skill set to the table — he’s a 7-footer who shot 34.6 percent from three last season (right at his career average of 35 percent). Hawes can space the floor and is a good passing big man, and that has value. He’s an okay defender and rebounder, which works well on a second unit, but if a team is giving him heavy rotation minutes it’s probably not a good sign.