Courtside: CJ McCollum's development
FRESNO -- Another big man is off the board after free agent center Spencer Hawes agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Clippers for what is being reported as a four-year, $23 million deal.
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.
But after a few days of deliberating, on Thursday, according to Yahoo! Sports, he notified the Trail Blazers that he was going in a different direction and soon after, Portland and Chris Kaman reached an agreement.
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 Trail Blazers quickly executed Plan B to perfection, but what’s concerning is the stigma that seems to remain that big-time free agents won’t come to Portland. And no disrespect to Hawes, but he’s nowhere close to being a “big-time” free agent. The Trail Blazers met with Channing Frye this week in Portland, we're told. He resides in the city during the offseason. One can conclude that he was out of their price range.
As long as Olshey is in the picture with his deep ties to powerful agents and relationships with high-profile players, the Trail Blazers will have a shot at free agents that before wouldn’t even glance towards the Pacific Northwest. However, he can’t work miracles every summer.
The Trail Blazers, throughout history, have been predominantly a franchise that builds from the draft and via trades. Times have gotten better to where the organization can add free agency to their methods of acquiring high-caliber athletes, but apparently there’s still more work to be done.