25

Warriors Miss Out on PF J.J. Hickson, Who Portland Claimed Off Waivers

Warriors missed out on J.J. Hickson, who was awarded toPortlandon Wednesday.

Hickson – a 6-foot-9, 242-pound power forward in his fourth season — was waived last week by Sacramento. Golden State wanted to sign him, but didn’t have the $2.35 million under the cap needed to claim him off waivers. Even before the Stephen Jackson trade, in which they took back Richard Jefferson and T.J. Ford from the Spurs, Golden State didn’t have enough cap space.

The Warriors only hope was that Hickson cleared waivers and the Warriors signed him as a free agent. Rules allow teams to sign players to the minimum despite being over the cap. According to a multiple sources, Hickson was interested in joining the Warriors.

But Portland, which put in the claim, was awarded Hickson. If the Warriors were able to bid for Hickson off waivers, they probably would have gotten him since the bidder with the worst record gets the player.

Golden State, after trading big man Ekpe Udoh toMilwaukee, is in need of front line help. But Hickson was more than just a body. Before flaming out inSacramento, Hickson built a reputation as a promising young big man inCleveland. In 80 games with the Cavaliers last season, he averaged 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds in 28.2 minutes.

This season, with the Kings, he averaged 4.7 points on 37 percent shooting with 5.1 rebounds in 18.4 minutes before getting waived. But the Warriors wanted to chance to see if Hickson’s decline was situational. If they could get him to return to form, he would have been an ideal piece for the Warriors now-depleted bench.

Marcus Thompson