Brooklyn or bust! ‘
That’s what J.J. Hickson was telling the Portland Trail Blazers today in the hours leading up to the NBA trade deadline, league sources told SheridanHoops.com.
Hickson made it known that he would only waive his trade veto if he was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets, but a trade between the teams was looking highly unlikely as the final hour before the 3 p.m. deadline arrived.
Brooklyn would only be willing to do a Hickson deal if they were sending back Kris Humphries, and other players would have to be included to keep Portland under the luxury tax.
But Portland has no interest in Humphries, according to a source close to the Blazers who said Portland preferred to acquire one of the Nets’ young players or Eurostash players along with a draft pick.
Hickson, averaging 12.9 points and 10.4 rebounds, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He is in the fifth and final year of his rookie-scale contract, and by waiving his no-trade clause Hickson would relinquish his Larry Bird rights.
More on Hickson from today’s Oregonian, where superstud columnist John Canzano weighs in: “I’m on record that the Blazers need to get something in return for the expiring contract that is Hickson. We’ve seen Portland’s front office drop the ball here too many times in recent years (SEE: Nick Van Exel, Damon Stoudamire, Arvydas Sabonis, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, etc.) and it’s contributed to the paper thin roster that coach Terry Stotts is trying to win with. Get a first-round draft pick for Hickson and today is a raging success. Get nothing, and it’s not. It’s that simple. But this is going to be a tricky proposition. Consider that a lot of the NBA already passed on Hickson last offseason when he could have been signed for $4 million. Portland grabbed him back. And I suspect most of the league believes — despite his double doubles with Portland — Hickson is just doing so because he’s getting lots of minutes and he remains the same player who nobody was much interested in while he was in Cleveland and Sacramento.