Sixers thinking big with Hawes

Andres Nocioni is a hard-nosed vet who wanted out of Sacramento.
Andres Nocioni is a hard-nosed vet who wanted out of Sacramento.
Posted: June 18, 2010

In the days leading up to, and the night of, the 2007 NBA draft, the 76ers were desperately trying to move up from their pick at No. 12, in the hopes of landing a player along the lines of Georgetown's Jeff Green, or China's Yi Jianlian or maybe even Florida's Joakim Noah. Washington's 7-1 center Spencer Hawes was also on the radar.

Three years later, just before the NBA draft, the 76ers landed the 7-1 Hawes. Yesterday, the team dealt center Sam Dalembert to the Sacramento Kings for Hawes and swingman Andres Nocioni.

"We are excited to add two players in Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni, who will help us immediately and provide us with additional frontcourt depth," said president and general manager Ed Stefanski in a statement. "Spencer is a young 7-footer who will provide us with versatility at the center position, while Andres will provide us with a tough veteran presence."

Stefanski and new coach Doug Collins will be holding an 11:30 a.m. news conference today at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

In his three seasons with the Kings, who selected him with the 10th pick, Hawes has averaged 8.8 points and 5.5 rebounds. This past season, he went for 10 points and 6.1 rebounds in 26.4 minutes a game. He is a finesse player who has a soft touch around the basket and can step out and consistently hit the 10- to 15-foot shot. He is also one of the best passing centers in the league.

"He's a really skilled 7-foot player," said Kings president Geoff Petrie of Hawes. "Offensively, he has a great feel for the game. He's a very creative passer and can score away from the basket. He runs the floor pretty well and he's smart. And he's young [22]. Defensively, he has to improve some, he struggles with consistency. He's capable of scoring 30 some games."

Hawes welcomes the challenge of switching teams.

"The first thing I thought was, 'Oh boy,' " Hawes told KHTK radio station in Sacramento. "It kind of caught me off guard, but I'm excited. It's always kind of weird changing coaches and, for me, I think it's going to be a great move to try and continue to progress in my career."

Playing in the West, Hawes is not too familiar with his new Sixer teammates, but he is aware of the mind-set of the Philadelphia fans.

"I don't know a whole lot now about the team but I think I'm going into a situation where I'm going to have the opportunity to excel," he told the radio station, "and I look forward to rising to that challenge. I think the main thing is to continue to improve and continue to develop. I think they have great, passionate fans and [scrutiny] comes with the territory."

Hawes will make about $3.1 million this season, the final year of his rookie contract.

In Nocioni, the Sixers acquire a hard-nosed swingman who also has the ability to hit the outside shot. In his four-plus seasons in Chicago and one-plus in Sacramento, the 6-7 Argentine has made 37.5 percent of his shots from beyond the arc and averaged 11.3 points. For Chicago, in the first round of the 2006 playoffs against the eventual champion Miami Heat, Nocioni averaged 22.3 points and 8.8 rebounds. He was part of the gold medal-winning Argentina team in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.

"He's a tough, hard-nosed competitive guy who brings a lot of effort," Petrie said. "He's a good three-point shooter and, physically, he'll compete. He's coming at you all the time."

Nocioni complained this season about his lack of playing time and went public with his quest for a trade.

"It was OK," Petrie said. "He played about 20 minutes a game, but we played a lot of young guys. He thought he should play more, but that's not unique to him."

Nocioni was arrested last November on a DUI charge when his car was observed weaving through downtown Sacramento. He was later suspended for two games by the NBA when he pleaded no contest to the charge.

Nocioni, 30, is scheduled to make $6.85 million this season and $6.65 million next year. There is a team option for 2012-13 on his contract of $7.5 million.

Dalembert was scheduled to make a little over $13 million on this, the final year of his contract.

Could this move be the first of several by Stefanski before Collins gets his hands on the team and begins the process of bettering a club that was woeful in winning just 27 games last season?

"We'll continue to listen to anyone who wants to talk to us," said Stefanski. "I imagine that we'll stay where we are with [next week's] No. 2 pick, unless someone absolutely blows us away. But, as far as making moves to better the team, I don't think we're done."

This trade was simmering for a while.

"This was one of those things that probably smoldered off and on," said Petrie. "Sometimes teams get to a point where both are looking to change styles and haven't been as good as they want to be. I think that was one of the driving factors. We need to be better around the basket defensively and they get a better shooter and a higher skill level in some areas. I think that pushed it over the edge."

With that 12th pick in 2007, the Sixers wound up with Thaddeus Young. He and Hawes now could very well wind up sharing frontcourt time this season.

Phil Jasner contributed to this story.

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