Add J.J. Hickson's name to the hat of NBA rumors as the league's Feb. 21 trade deadline rapidly approaches.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday night that the double-double machine power forward is on the trade block (via Twitter).
Hickson, as mentioned, is good for a double-double per game and is tied for fourth in the NBA with Atlanta’s Al Horford in that category. Only Golden State’s David Lee, Memphis’ Zach Randolph and Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic have earned more. He’s doing it with significantly less playing time than his peers, too, recording just 29.2 minutes per game off of Portland’s bench.
The only problem with moving Hickson is that he has a no-trade clause in his contract, giving him the final say in any potential deals. If the Trail Blazers can’t move him, they will be in an interesting position with 2012 lottery pick Meyers Leonard waiting for his chance to shine.
No matter what the Trail Blazers do, they’re going to need to find an attractive destination for Hickson in order to make a deal go down. Let’s take a look at a couple of teams to whom Hickson may approve trades and who might be willing to bring the big man to town.
Los Angeles Lakers
We aren’t so sure Hickson wouldn’t veto a trade to Los Angeles given the turmoil surrounding he team this season. Dwight Howard is a question mark, Pau Gasol is getting older and the team has little depth in its once-deep frontcourt.
Monetarily, making a move doesn’t make very much sense for Hickson as long as Dwight Howard is on the team. If they deal Howard for Boston’s Rajon Rondo, this might start to make more sense. A frontcourt of Hickson, Gasol, Earl Clark and Jordan Hill could be a serviceable rotation until the team can find a better option.
Brooklyn has been noted to be interested in Hickson recently, as the team is trying to replace Kris Humphries after the forward fell from grace this season.
Heard the Nets are interested in Portland's JJ Hickson, who can veto a trade. Hickson would lose his Bird Rights if dealt.— Stefan Bondy (@NYDNInterNets) February 15, 2013
Are the Nets so down on Humphries that they are trying so hard to add Hickson, Josh Smith, Paul Millsap or anyone else they can get their hands on?
If the Atlanta Hawks deal swingman Josh Smith—like they’re rumored to be determined to do before the trade deadline (h/t ESPN’s Marc Stein)—they are going to need a replacement who can match Smith’s production.
Hawks have convinced numerous teams that Josh Smith will be moved between now and Thursday 3 PM deadline. Question remains where exactly— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 19, 2013
While they wouldn’t trade Hickson straight up for Smith, a third team could get involved in order to facilitate things and iron out the details.
Atlanta could definitely use a player like Hickson in its frontcourt in Smith’s absence. It would also get other usable assets from a third team in the process of dealing Smith, whereas it would get nothing if Smith were to walk in free agency this summer.