A year ago, J.J. Hickson was in the running for the NBA’s Most Improved Player. Now he’s not even an NBA player.
Hickson, 23, was waived Monday by the Sacramento Kings, the team announced. Yahoo! Sports reported that Hickson received a buyout.
The 6-9 Hickson was a 2008 first-round pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers and was primarily a starter in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. He was one of the few bright spots in Cleveland’s dismal campaign a year ago, averaging career highs of 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds in 28.2 minutes.
Last June, the Kings sent Omri Casspi and a future first-round pick to the Cavs for Hickson, who was expected to be part of Sacramento’s big man rotation. But he has been buried behind DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson and averaged just 4.7 points in 35 games.
Hickson was scheduled to make $2.35 million this season and had a $3.36 million qualifying offer for next season.
Hickson suffered a hip pointer earlier this month and recently has been bothered by back spasms. Regardless, he is expected to attract attention from contending teams looking for depth in their frontcourt. Phoenix and Golden State reportedly are interested.