Doc Rivers: Hawes, Farmar 'good fit'
After falling just 49.2 seconds short of winning Game 5 and taking control of their Western Conference semifinals series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Clippers president of basketball operations and head coach felt his team needed to keep its core together while adding complementary players around the edges.
"I think we've pushed ourselves closer to where we want to go, hopefully over to that," Rivers said of the Hawes and Farmar, who signed shortly after midnight Thursday and were introduced to the media later in the afternoon. "I thought they were a good fit for the way we play. Shooting is obviously very important to all teams, as you can see with all the signings around the league. I think they both have that."
The Clippers reportedly used their midlevel exception to sign Hawes to a four-year, $23 million deal with a player option in the fourth year, and their biannual exception to sign Farmar to a two-year, $4.2 million deal with a player option in the second year.
"We were sitting upstairs waiting for 'The Decision,' so we were just taking our time to see," Rivers said jokingly after starting the news conference 10 minutes late, referring to LeBron James' pending announcement. "So now that it hasn't happened yet, we'll make one today."
Farmar, 27, and Hawes, 26, were atop the organization's list heading into the July 1 moratorium period, in which players could verbally agree to terms but not officially sign yet, according to Rivers.
"The moment we could make a call, those were our calls because we thought it was important," Rivers said.
The Clippers were the first team to contact Farmar, who had just arrived at the airport from a family vacation when his phone rang. To Farmar's surprise, it was Rivers, who kept calling and persisting until Farmar agreed to replace Darren Collison, who signed with the Sacramento Kings for a three-year, $16 million deal.
"As soon as the clock struck 9:01 p.m. PT, I got that call," Farmar said. "It was a good feeling to feel wanted and to feel like you're going to be a part of something special."
Farmar, a Los Angeles native and a former UCLA Bruin, had anticipated a hard pitch from the Los Angeles Lakers but only briefly spoke with general manager Mitch Kupchak, who made it clear the organization had a free-agency plan that didn't include Farmar.
Staying in Los Angeles was atop Farmar's wish list, so he listened to Rivers' pitch and became intrigued by the opportunities the Clippers presented.
"Los Angeles is really special to me," Farmar said. "I get a chance to live at my house, be around my friends and family, let them see my kids grow up -- those are all things that are important to me outside of basketball. If you're comfortable outside of the court, it really helps your performance on the court, and I look to take advantage of that."
Farmar averaged 10.1 points on 41.5 percent shooting and 4.9 assists per game last season with the Lakers. He shot 43.8 percent from beyond the arc, but struggled to stay on the floor and only played in 41 games.
While Hawes doesn't have ties to Los Angeles -- he grew up in Seattle, where he idolized fellow Seattleite Jamal Crawford -- his interest in the Clippers was simple: He is tired of losing and wants to play for a contender.
"Being able to come into a situation where you know what the goal is, you know what's expected and obviously the talent level has the opportunity [to win a championship] as much as anybody," Hawes said.
"I think as a big guy you look at two things: you look at your point guard -- and obviously with [Chris Paul] here it's second to none -- and you look at the guys in the frontcourt because you have to have that chemistry with them. I think I'll be able to play with both of those guys and hopefully make it easier for them, and [they'll do the] same for me."
"I thought one of things we needed all year -- you could see it, everyone talked about -- was size," Rivers said. "We needed more size and we needed more skill."
Hawes averaged 13.2 points on 45.6 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 blocks per game last season with the Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers. He shot 41.6 percent on 3-pointers overall and 44.8 percent from deep after being traded to Cleveland.
Neither player could've imagined signing with the Clippers as recently a couple of years ago, but the progress the franchise has made since Griffin, Paul and Rivers have arrived convinced them otherwise. Rivers, in particular, was the primary selling point as arguably the game's premier player's coach.
"I didn't imagine myself signing with the Clippers," Farmar said. "Life has a funny way of just working itself out. I'm blessed with this great opportunity. I'm fortunate that I'm wanted here and I'm happy to be here and I look forward to the future."
Hawes added: "I think with Doc and just speaking with him, when he tells you something, you buy in. You believe it right away. His sell from the beginning was strong and it definitely left an impression."