NBA Trade: J.J. Hickson Trade Is No Home Run, but Still a Necessary Move

Sam TothContributor IIIJuly 1, 2011

CLEVELAND - FEBRUARY 25:  Chauncey Billups #4 of the New York Knicks attempts to drive around J.J. Hickson #21 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game on February 25, 2011 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Some notes and reactions to the big Cavs trade:

This Trade Was Totally Necessary

  • The writing was on the wall as soon as the Cavaliers selected Tristan Thompson last week. I wrote after the draft that the Cavs needed to get rid of Hickson. I stick by that.
  • Hickson and Thompson were two of the Cavaliers' biggest assets and had eerily similar traits. Both are young, athletic, 6’9″ power forwards with suspect jumpers. The biggest difference between the two is that Hickson has proven he can play in this league and Thompson plays the game with more smarts and hustle. The Cavaliers (rightly) rolled the dice with smarts and hustle.
  • He might have been our most talented basketball player and most valuable asset, but I’m okay with letting Hickson go for a couple of reasons: (A) He played uninspired basketball. I’ll never really go to bat for someone like that. (B) His contract was up at the end of the year and he would surely be seeking big money. (C) The aforementioned logjam at the power forward position. 


Omri Casspi Is Not A Throw-In

  •  First of all, can we all agree that his new nickname is “Cavspi”? Thanks.
  • Casspi is not an All-Star by any means, but he will, at the very least, be serviceable and prove to be a huge upgrade over Alonzo Gee, Joey Graham and Christian Eyenga at the small forward position. Amazingly, those were the only three players on the roster at that position.
  • Casspi is 6’9″, long and athletic. And at age 22, he can only improve.
  • Here is Joe Kotoch of Pro Basketball Draft tweeting his breakdown of Casspi.

  • Let’s breakdown his breakdown…
  • “Good shooter.”—Good to hear.
  • “Needs a good facilitator to create shots.”—Well, then it’s a good thing we just drafted the top-rated point guard in the draft.
  • “Long, productive player with energy.”—Love that.
  • “Poor defender.”—Okay, that’s no good. But I’m convinced that as long as somebody is “long” and plays with “energy,” they can develop into a good defender.



That Pesky First-Rounder

  • When I first read about the trade, I immediately thought it was a no-brainer. I’d much rather have Omri Casspi plus a 2012 first-rounder for J.J. Hickson, especially considering the fact that I felt we needed to trade Hickson for anything. Then it became known that the first-round pick the Cavs would receive from Sacramento would be more protected than The Holy Grail.

“The first round pick acquired from Sacramento is lottery-protected in 2012 (1-14). The pick is then protected in 2013 (1-13), 2014 (1-12) and 2015-2017 (1-10). If the pick is not conveyed by 2017, then Sacramento will convey its own 2017 second round draft pick to the Cavaliers protected (56-60).”

  • That pick is protected until 2017! Are we even sure J.J. Hickson and Omri Casspi will be in the league by then?
  • So let’s make this clear: If the Kings do not make the playoffs for the next five years, we would have traded J.J. Hickson for Omri Casspi and a 2017 second-round pick. That’s considerably less enticing. But is it still worth the risk? I say yes.
  • Just be sure to root for the Kings as your favorite Western Conference team this year. Or next. Or the one after. Or the one after that. Or the…you get the idea.


“But We Could Have Gotten So Much More For Hickson!!!”

  • Was it a knock-it-out-of-the-ball-park offer? No. But was it good enough to pull the trigger? Yes.
  • Then why not wait until the trade deadline and see if you can get more? Well, there is a lockout that occurred at midnight last night. Now there is the very real possibility of a lost season. If that happens, the Cavs may have lost Hickson for nothing.
  • As for the whole "hindsight is 20/20" in regards to the Cavs failing to obtain Amar’e Stoudemire because of their refusal to include Hickson? That’s hogwash. The Suns were the ones that nixed the deal. Not to mention that Steve Kerr said on a Bill Simmons podcast in August 2010 that the Suns were never going to deal Stoudemire. Kerr no longer works for the team and would have no reason to lie about that.


Bottom Line

  •  The Cavs traded away a player that played uninspired, was not going to develop into a leader, played at a crowded position and was probably not going to re-sign with the Cavs anyway.
  • In return, they got a pretty good young player with upside at a position of dire need and the opportunity to land an additional first-round pick, an always-coveted asset.
  • I’m good with this trade. You?