Central Notes: Hawes, Markkanen, Bulls, ‘The Q’

Former Bucks center Spencer Hawes officially cleared waivers Saturday, tweets Keith Smith of Real GM. The veteran center was waived Thursday just before the deadline to stretch his salary, allowing Milwaukee to pay the $6MM he’s still owed in $2MM increments over the next three seasons. The 10-year veteran is now free to sign with anyone and has a little more than three weeks to find a team before training camps open. Hawes saw his playing time drop sharply after the Hornets traded him to the Bucks in February. He averaged just 9 minutes per game in Milwaukee, putting up 4.4 points and 2.4 rebounds.

There’s more this morning from the Central Division:

  • Bulls officials aren’t concerned about an injury that rookie Lauri Markkanen suffered during Saturday’s EuroBasket tournament, according to Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago (Twitter link). Playing for Finland, Markkanen hurt his leg on a shot at the buzzer that could have tied the game and had to be helped off the court by teammates. However, the seventh pick in this year’s draft appears to be fine and is expected to play today.
  • A series of offseason moves has left the Bulls without the talent to compete for a playoff spot, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE in his “30 teams in 30 days” series. Chicago signaled the start of a rebuilding project on draft day when it traded Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves in exchange for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the chance to draft Markkanen. That leaves the team with two veterans in Dwyane Wade and Robin Lopez, surrounded by a lot of unproven talent. Blakely criticizes the front office for several bad deals that turned two first-round picks, four second-rounders and Taj Gibson into a group of youngsters with Cameron Payne as the “prize” addition.
  • A proposed $140MM renovation of Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena is a good deal for the city, claims Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. He points out that the $70MM in public financing comes mainly from admission taxes on tickets, meaning it will be paid for by people who use the arena. The deal extends the Cavaliers‘ lease from 2027 to 2034.
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