via The Oregonian
JJ Hickson makes $4 million annually, averaging a double double (12.2 points, 11 rebounds) , well regarded by fans, and appreciated by teammates. Sounds like a keeper to me. Here’s the catch. He’s also an unrestricted free agent by the end of the season, which means Portland is in a tough situation. The Blazers love Hickson, but other league executives don’t necessarily view him as a commodity leaving him to be traded for some future second-round draft picks. According to the Oregonian there wasn’t much interest in Hickson last summer beyond Portland, which signed him to a modest one-year deal.
Depending on who you ask, forward J.J. Hickson either has to go before the Feb. 21 NBA trade deadline. Or he has to be counted on as part of Portland’s long-term plan. Olshey is smooth, but he’s headed to his first dicey collision, and there’s not a simple way out.
League executives are watching this, of course. I talked to a Western Conference GM on Saturday who said, “This would be so much easier on Neil if the team fell out of the playoff race. Everyone figured that road trip would take Portland out of it, but it’s put them right in the race and if he gets to that deadline in the same position he’s going to have to make a difficult decision with a popular player.”