Cavs, Kings Swap Talent
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Sacramento Kings agreed to swap a pair of talented young forwards today. The Cavaliers will send power forward J.J. Hickson to the Kings in exchange for small forward Omri Casspi.
The deal was first reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.
The Cavs will also received a lottery-protected first-round pick in 2012 from Sacramento. The pick is top-13 protected in 2013, top-12 protected in 2014, and top-10 protected in 2015-17. If the pick is not conveyed by 2017, the Kings will instead send a 2017 second-round pick, 56-60 protected.
Hickson was originally drafted by the Cavaliers with the 19th overall pick in 2008. Last season, in his first extended time starting (66 games) with the many injuries to the Cavs’ frontcourt, he averaged 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds. In Sacramento he figures to give the Kings a bona fide starting power forward next to center DeMarcus Cousins, strengthening a starting lineup that also includes Tyreke Evans and either Jimmer Fredette or Marcus Thornton.
Hickson has one year left on his rookie scale contract, worth $2.4 million (his 2011-12 salary, $1.6 million, was used for trade purposes, good through today).
It also brings into question the status of 6-11 forward Jason Thompson for the Kings, who started 39 games for the team last season. Could he be on the move next? Or will he become first-forward-off-the-bench player?
Hickson was rendered expendable with the drafting of power forward Tristan Thompson with the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft by Cleveland. Still young and somewhat raw, this move is an indication the Cavs are very comfortable with their choice and trust Thompson and veteran Antawn Jamison will hold down the four spot. Jamison has one year left on his contract at $15.1 million. Supposedly he was on the block, but the move of Hickson makes that moderately less likely.
In Casspi the Cavaliers receive a forward who can rebound, defend, play physical ball, and hit three-pointers. He was very unhappy with his role under Coach Paul Westphal and has a good shot of becoming Cleveland’s starting small forward. In Cleveland he will likely compete for minutes with second-year swingman Christian Eyenga, but his shooting could give him the edge.
Casspi has two years left on his rookie scale contract, worth $1.3 million and $2.3 million.
Who got the better end of the deal? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!