76ers, Hawes agree to two-year, $13 million deal

Posted: July 05, 2012

Before NBA free agency began on July 1, 76ers president and general manager Rod Thorn said that the team's first order of business would be to re-sign unrestricted free agents Spencer Hawes and Lou Williams.

On Wednesday, the 76ers made good on part of that equation, agreeing in principle on a two-year, $13 million deal with Hawes, a center. Hawes can't officially sign the deal, which was first reported by Yahoo Sports, until the league lifts the moratorium on signing contracts on July 11.

The Sixers have had conversations with Williams, a shooting guard and the team's leading scorer last season. But at least four other teams are interested in Williams' services, according to his agent, Leon Rose.

Hawes received interest from other teams, including Portland and Miami. According to sources with knowledge of the conversations, however, Hawes wanted to return to Philadelphia.

After missing just one game during the 2010-11 season, Hawes missed 29 last season, 27 of them with a sore Achilles tendon. In 37 games with 29 starts, Hawes averaged 9.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocked shots per game in a little less than 25 minutes. He also shot 49 percent from the floor.

The Sixers were much better with Hawes in the lineup, going 22-15 in games in which he appeared and 13-16 without him.

When players can sign contracts, the Sixers will be over the $58 million salary cap. They also have to sign rookies Maurice Harkless and Arnett Moultrie. They can sign Williams to a longer deal (five years) than any other team.

The only way the Sixers can be more active in free agency is by exercising amnesty on Elton Brand. Amnesty allows a team to release a player and not have his contract count against the salary cap. Brand is owed almost $18.2 million in the final year of his contract.

Contact John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com.

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