Is a reunion next season between J.J. Hickson and the Cleveland Cavaliers really such a bad idea?
I know what you're thinking. Wow, that's terrible. I don't want to read anything else that you have to say. Your opinion is the absolute worst.
But indulge me for a minute.
Hickson, despite his scuffles with Byron Scott, and his propensity toward saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, was extremely productive a year ago. He was one of the few bright spots, especially during the 26-game losing streak, and averaged 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds a year ago. He could create for himself on offense, was one of the few bangers down low the Cavs had, and was tremendously athletic.
His initial rookie contract would be up at the end of the 2011-12 season and he was one of the biggest trade chips the Cavs had before the lockout began. And after selecting Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick, the Cavs then took Tristan Thompson at four, making it even more likely that Hickson had to go.
The net was Omri Casspi and a conditional first-round draft pick, and we've all seen how disappointing J.J. has been in his career with the Sacramento Kings. Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio has already argued that the Cavs got the better end of the deal.
"He's been nothing like they hoped when they made the deal," one Western Conference GM said of Hickson. "If the Kings knew it would be like this, they never would have made the deal. The Cavs probably still would, but the Kings sure wouldn't. They'd like to have that one back."
All of that notwithstanding, think about how much better said deal would be if the Cavs were able to tender Hickson on top of that -- at a fraction of the cost.
Well, it's not that insane. Hickson made waves with his comments yesterday, saying:
"I wanted to rebuild here (in Cleveland)," Hickson said. "But unfortunately I got traded." [...] "I didn’t see it coming at all," Hickson said of the trade. "But it happened and unfortunately I’m a Sacramento King now."
Now, now, J.J. probably shouldn't have said that. But it doesn't sound as if Cleveland is such a bad place to play. He liked the city, he wanted to be here and he enjoyed the fans.
Hickson is a restricted free agent after this year, and considering that he isn't starting and doesn't seem to be gelling with the Kings, it's becoming pretty unlikely they'll give him big money. His reduced production has dropped his value significantly, but the Cavs will have cap space and they are still in need of post players.
They'll be hard pressed to find ones under the age of 25 with the skillset that Hickson possesses. Having both Thompson and Hickson would not hurt the team; rather, it would shore up one of the main weaknesses for the club, especially considering the Cavs will be in need of another PF when Jamison is traded or walks after his contract expires this season.
"J.J. could be great if he ever finally gets it," were words often spoken inside the locker room.
The thing about Hickson is he still has time to figure it all out. He turns just 24 in September, and still has a ways to go maturity-wise, but so do a lot of other 20-somethings.
I, for one, would welcome him back if the price was right, and hedge my bets hoping that he can put it all together.