TORONTO: Spencer Hawes did his best to learn as much as he could about his new team Friday as fast as he could. Hawes, acquired Thursday in a deadline-day deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, met Cavs General Manager David Griffin for the first time about an hour before the game Friday against the Toronto Raptors.
He was briefed on the playoff standings and upcoming schedule by Tyler Zeller and he said he would get to work right away crunching film and trying to blend in. It was a wild 24 hours for Hawes, who woke up Thursday in Philadelphia and went to bed in Toronto late Thursday night as a member of the Cavs.
“I had a pretty good idea I was going somewhere, but Cleveland wasn’t in any of the rumors that I’d heard,” Hawes said. “My agent called me and gave me the news and I started packing.”
He is excited to leave the second-worst team in the league and join a playoff contender for the final two months. He participated in the walkthrough Friday morning and played his first game about 24 hours after the trade was announced. With Anderson Varejao injured and not on the trip, the Cavs were anxious to add some depth in the post and waived Hawes’ physical to expedite the trade. The Sixers certainly didn’t mind — they released Earl Clark on Friday after acquiring him from the Cavs in the deal.
No one thought it would take Hawes long to figure out the system — particularly on offense.
“Our offense is not complex at all,” coach Mike Brown said.
The Cavs just faced the Sixers a few days ago, so when Brown and Hawes spoke by phone Thursday night, Hawes said he had a pretty good understanding of what the Cavs do.
“You probably do,” Brown told him. “What you went over in your scouting report is all we do.”
Hawes acknowledged all the losing with the 76ers and all the uncertainty over his future began wearing him down recently. Hawes is averaging career highs of 13 points and 8.5 rebounds, but he slumped to 7.8 points and 33 percent shooting during the Sixers’ current nine-game losing streak.
“We got off to a pretty good start, but more recently it was trying,” Hawes said. “It’s nice to have it resolved and have that uncertainty cleared up. I think, as in most things in life, it’s that middle ground when you don’t know where it’s going that can be more frustrating.”
Hawes is wearing No. 32 with the Cavs, which he wore in high school.
Luol Deng’s contract saga just won’t end, and it’s finally starting to wear on him. Deng conceded Wednesday the only reason he feels like he’s with the Cavs is because his contract is up at the end of the season. That’s part of the reason he was back on the trade block during deadline day Thursday.
“This year the contract talk has been a little exhausting,” Deng said. “It seems like it’s never over.”
Deng and Jarrett Jack were both rumored to be on the move Thursday, but both players said they didn’t pay much attention to all the trade noise. Deng reiterated Friday he’d like some clarity on the Cavs’ future before entertaining thoughts of re-signing.
“The guy who brought me here [Chris Grant] is not here and now we have Griff and Griff is an interim,” Deng said. “I really don’t know if Griff is going to be the GM or what’s going on. I know the direction the organization is going and how everything has been set up. I’ve been happy with that from Day One. But at the same time, if I’m going to commit any place, not just here, I want to know what I’m getting into or what’s going on next.”
The media crush the Cavs anticipated over Anthony Bennett’s first game in Canada wasn’t as bad as previously feared. The hockey game Friday morning between Team USA and Canada stole most of the attention, leaving only about a dozen reporters to greet Bennett and Tristan Thompson at the morning shootaround.
“It’s a good feeling being back in your hometown, everybody’s going to be at the game that you know,” Bennett said. “I haven’t played in Toronto in how long? I’m anxious to get out there and perform well, do what I can do, do what I’ve been doing, and hopefully we can get the win.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.