It’s a fitting return to L.A. for Hornets’ Spencer Hawes, who didn’t fit with the Clippers

Spencer Hawes, Wesley Johnson, DeAndre Jordan

Clippers forward Wesley Johnson, left, and center DeAndre Jordan (6) reach for a rebound along with Hornets forward Spencer Hawes during the first half.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

It seemed like the perfect fit when the Clippers signed Spencer Hawes to a four-year, $23-million contract during the summer of 2014.

But it was not perfect. It was not even a good fit.

So Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, who also serves as the team’s president of basketball operations, shipped out Hawes last summer, trading him and Matt Barnes to the Charlotte Hornets for Lance Stephenson. (Barnes subsequently was dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies.)

Hawes, who was back in Staples Center on Saturday with the Hornets playing the Clippers, reflected upon his time playing in Los Angeles.


“Sometimes situations just don’t work out the way you draw it up on paper,” Hawes said. “It was one of those things where when you look at it from that perspective, it looked like a good fit. It didn’t end up that way. That’s the nature of the business.”

Hawes was going to be the backup center to DeAndre Jordan and backup power forward to Blake Griffin. He was going to be that “stretch” big man who can shoot three-pointers, an element the Clippers desperately wanted.

But Hawes struggled during his one season with the Clippers. His scoring (5.8 points a game) and rebounding (3.5) represented his lowest averages since his rookie season. His 39.3% shooting and 31.3% from three-point range were also his lowest since his first year in the NBA.

Still, Hawes admitted he was taken aback when he was traded.


“You’re always a little surprised after a year,” he said. “You can’t take it personally.”

Hawes didn’t play against the Clippers in Charlotte on Dec. 30 because of a sore lower back. He played against them Saturday, scoring seven points and grabbing four rebounds.

“You’ve got a lot of pride when you go back and you play against your old teams, especially against a team that traded you away,” Hawes said. “You’ve got a little extra incentive.”

Hawes said he’s still adjusting to playing for the Hornets, to a new system, and to a new city that’s not Manhattan Beach, where he lived during his one season here.

He’s actually averaging fewer points (5.6) with the Hornets than he did with the Clippers.

“I’m trying to get in where I fit in,” Hawes said. “But finally my back is feeling better so that’s nice and kind of hopefully [I’ll] be past that. We’ve been struggling here lately, had a lot guys in and out of the lineup. Now we’ve got some guys coming back and we’re playing the way we were playing earlier.”




When: 12:30 p.m.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 980, 1330.

Records: Clippers 24-13; Pelicans 11-24.

Record vs. Pelicans: 2-0.

Update: New Orleans may be without forward Anthony Davis , who is listed as day to day because of a bruised lower back. Davis is tied for second in the NBA in double-doubles, averaging 22.8 points per game and 10.8 rebounds. The Pelicans give up 105.7 points per game, the fourth-highest in the league.


Twitter: @BA_Turner

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