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Report: Spencer Hawes To Be Released

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NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The headline says it all. Spencer Hawes, the last remaining part of the famed Miles Plumlee salary dump trade (that also brought back Roy Hibbert), seems to be on the way out of Milwaukee.

Cutting Hawes and stretching his salary was widely considered to be the easiest way for the Milwaukee Bucks to get under the luxury tax. As mentioned by Frank Madden on a recent episode of Locked On Bucks, waiving Gary Payton II would still leave the team roughly $50k short of the luxury tax line, while waiving Hawes would give them significantly more wiggle room. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, as he occasionally does, dropped the cherry bomb on Twitter last night:

Per Woj’s report, the Bucks are now $2.5 million below the tax threshhold, and removing Hawes clears up a roster spot for a cheap, low-usage veteran who could serve as a leader in the locker room and set an example during his minutes on the court. What’s that? It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s...

...I guess it is a plane.

From a roster building perspective, cutting Hawes loose changes very little for the Bucks. His $6m salary for one year is now divvied up over the next three years, meaning the Bucks will be paying Hawes through 2020 (which is still less time than they’ll be paying Larry Sanders.) Considering how closely the team is bumping up against the tax already, it’s notable that the Bucks are willingly locking in a small, but significant, portion of their salary cap for the next three seasons.

On the court, Hawes’ departure has very little direct impact but could have a huge indirect one. His play at the center position could generally be described as “fine,” and he offered far more offensive upside than the Bucks’ other third-string center (John Henson). With Thon Maker and Greg Monroe set to consume the lion’s share of the big man minutes, and John Henson available to step in as needed, Hawes has always been eminently expendable.

Where his departure could pay off is if the team is able to bring back Jason Terry for his nineteenth NBA season. Terry will be 40 years old in two weeks (happy early birthday, JET!), but was among the league’s leaders in Win Shares produced for players 36 or older. Then again, the Bucks are rarely predictable, so they could go after someone nobody sees coming.

In any case, provided the news of Hawes’ imminent departure is accurate, it looks like the Brew Hoop community assessed his value accurately in our annual “Rank The Roster” series. Farewell, Top Knot. We’ll always have...that one game where you scored 8 points or something? And we’ll always appreciate your striking resemblance to Thoros of Myr.