Gang's All Here: Spencer Hawes Accepts Qualifying Offer

Gang's All Here: Spencer Hawes Accepts Qualifying Offer

Amidst all the turmoil in the NBA right now, the Sixers continue to stay
far out of the fray, content to bring back the same group that made an
unexpected run at the playoffs last year. After re-signing Thaddeus
Young and Tony Battie (yes, really) since free agency began two days
ago, the team has now also secured their starting center from last
season, Spencer Hawes. Spence accepted the team's qualifying offer, of
just over four million dollars, to stay with the Ballers for another
year.

Extending Hawes the qualifying offer was kind of a no-brainer for the
size-depleted Sixers. Battie was the only other potential center on the
roster (unless you count Elton Brand, which, not really), and it's
unlikely the team would've found a starting-caliber big man for such a
reasonable price elsewhere.

Of course, whether or not Spence actually is a starting-caliber center
remains up for debate. He wasn't exactly a dynamo for the team last year,
averaging just 7.2 points and 5.7 rebounds in 22 minutes a game, while
shooting 47% from the field and an abysmal 53% from the line (though
that was somewhat moot, since he only shot about one free throw a game)
and playing sporadically porous defense. Still, Hawes is young—though
he's already been in the league for four seasons, he's only 23—and he
has enough talent that, for a low price in a year where the team isn't
exactly expected to contend anyway, it's worth it for the Sixers to take
another look at what they have with him.

And generally, I like the team's strategy of getting the band back
together, while generally staying out of most trade and free-agency
discussions. True, this has been the team's strategy for pretty much
every post-season since they splurged on Elton Brand, Lou Williams and
Andre Iguodala back in '08, but it especially makes sense this year to
make consistency a priority, with such a short training camp and
pre-season.

“With the signing of Spencer, we now have our core returning - a group
that is very familiar with each other, their roles and Coach Collins’
system and philosophies," said
de facto team GM Rod Thorn of Hawes' signing. And though it's not
exactly the '83 squad that they're bringing back together, this group of
players does seem to click very well with each other and with Coach
Collins, a chemistry that only seemed to grow as the season went along.

Re-signing Young and Hawes aren't the kind of moves that put the team
over the top as a title threat, but they should stabilize the team and
make them a likely playoff threat, at the least. Until the team gets out
from Brand and possibly Andre Iguodala's contract and starts building
in earnest towards a group that may one day contend for a championship,
they should at least be a fun, competitive group to watch in the
meantime. We're looking forward to watching them this year, anyway.

Former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn signs 2-year deal with Coyotes

Former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn signs 2-year deal with Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes have signed former Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn to a two-year contract.

The 26-year-old defenseman had four goals and 12 assists in 72 games with the Flyers and Los Angeles Kings last season. Schenn and Vinny Lecavalier were traded by the Flyers to the Kings last January in exchange for Jordan Weal and a third-round draft pick in last month's entry draft.

In his career, Schenn has 28 goals and 100 assists in 566 games with the Kings, Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs. In three-plus seasons with the Flyers, Schenn scored 12 goals and added 30 assists.

Schenn was the first-round draft pick - fifth selection overall - by the Maple Leafs in 2008.

Coyotes general manager John Chayka called Schenn "a good, young defenseman" who will be "a solid addition" to the Arizona blue line.

- CSNPhilly.com contributed to this story.

Cameron Rupp leaves game vs. Pirates after getting hit in head by pitch

ap-cameron-rupp-phillies.jpg
Associated Press

Cameron Rupp leaves game vs. Pirates after getting hit in head by pitch

Updated - 5:55 p.m.

PITTSBURGH -- Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp left the game in the third inning after being struck on the left ear flap of his batting helmet by a pitch from Pirates rookie right-hander Tyler Glasnow.

Rupp walked off the field under his own power and backup catcher Carlos Ruiz pinch ran for him and stayed in the game to catch starter Aaron Nola.

The Phillies later announced Rupp was removed from the game as a precaution and that he showed no symptoms of a concussion.

Less than 24 hours before, Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco was hit in the wrist by a pitch thrown by Pirates starter Gerrit Cole in Friday's 4-0 victory at PNC Park. Franco left the game and did not start on Saturday afternoon. He's listed as day to day (see story).

In the first inning on Saturday, Rupp hit into an inning-ending ground out. He is hitting .276 with 10 home runs in 63 games.