The Sacramento Kings today acquired forward-center J.J. Hickson from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for forward Omri Casspi and a conditional future first-round draft pick, according to Kings’ President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie.
“We’re very excited about the opportunity to acquire J.J. Hickson from the Cavaliers,” said Petrie. “We believe he’ll continue to fortify our frontline going forward. He’s an improving young player who is just 22 years old. We believe J.J. will be an important complement to our frontcourt and overall roster as well. We also wish Omri the best and hope he continues on to have a successful career with the Cavaliers.”
At 6-9 and 242 pounds, Hickson, who is a three-year NBA veteran, averaged 13.8 points (.458 FGs, .673 FTs), 8.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 28.2 minutes per game in 80 outings with the Cavaliers this past season, of which he started 66. His points and rebounds per game statistics have increased significantly in each of his three NBA seasons (from 4.0 ppg and 2.7 rpg as a rookie to 8.5 ppg and 4.9 rpg the following campaign to last year’s 13.8 ppg and 8.7 rpg). In the midst of a solid 2011 season, Hickson came on strong towards the end, scoring 20 points or more in nine of his last 15 games and pulling down 10 rebounds or more in 11 of his last 13 outings. He averaged 19.7 points per game over his last 15 and 12.5 rebounds per game in his last 13. He has posted career averages of 9.1 points (.495 FGs, .675 FTs) and 5.7 rebounds per game in 223 contests. Hickson has recorded career playoff averages of 3.5 points (.636 FGs, .668 FTs) in 11 outings. He was selected by Cleveland in the first round (19th overall pick) of the 2008 NBA Draft following his freshman season at North Carolina State where he earned ACC All-Freshman Team honors and was named Honorable Mention All-Conference.
Casspi, 23, played in 71 games (27 starts) during the 2010-11 season, averaging 8.6 points on .412 shooting, including .372 from three-point range, 4.3 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 24.1 minutes per game. In his 27 starts, he increased his averages to 10.7 points on .435 shooting, 5.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 31.3 minutes per game. The 6-foot-9, 225-pounder was born in Yavne, Israel and became the first Israeli player to be drafted in the first round (23rd overall in the 2009 NBA Draft) as well as the first player from Israel to play in the NBA when he made his debut on October 28, 2009 at Oklahoma City. In his two seasons in the NBA, he has career averages of 9.5 points on .431 shooting, 4.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 24.6 minutes per game in 148 games (58 starts).
The first round pick acquired from Sacramento is lottery-protected in 2012 (1-14). The pick is then protected in 2013 (1-13), 2014 (1-12) and 2015-2017 (1-10). If the pick is not conveyed by 2017, then Sacramento will convey its own 2017 second round draft pick to the Cavaliers protected (56-60).
“We want to thank J.J. for his hard work and contributions to the Cavaliers, both on the court and off the court in the community. This is another step in our on-going process to shape and position our team and roster for future growth and a platform for sustained success,” said Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant. “We’re excited to add a young, talented, tough-minded player like Omri, that we feel is a good fit for our team and can help improve our perimeter group, while also being able to obtain another important asset with the additional first round draft pick.”
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