|Celtics’ big man search: J.J. Hickson||03.19.12 at 5:05 pm ET|
It’s not often a team reaches a buyout on a 23-year-old forward who is still on his rookie contract, but that’s what Sacramento has done with J.J. Hickson, per the great Adrian Wojnarowksi of Yahoo! Rare as that move is, it’s even rarer when the team buys out a player when it traded a player — Omri Casspi — and a first-round pick to acquire him, but that’s the Kings these days.
Would he make sense for the Celtics? Sure, but he comes with major caveats.
First, the good news: Hickson can score. He averaged 14 points and 8.7 rebounds for the Cavs in 2010-11. He has a career PER of 14.4 and did we mention he’s only 23 years old?
Now, the bad news: The Cavs traded him after giving him an extended look and he played only 36 games for the Kings while not doing do much with the time he had. Hickson is shooting 37 percent this season. His turnovers are up, his rebounding is down and he’s not exactly known as a defensive force.
Still, Hickson has talent and if he’s available for next to nothing, then it’s a chance the Celtics should take. He clearly has the most upside of anyone currently on the market and they aren’t looking for a 36-minute a night power forward.
However, in order to sign Hickson two things must happen. First, he has to clear waivers and with his low salary (about $2.3 million) and upside, some team may claim him for all of the above reasons. Second, if he does clear waivers, the C’s would have to clear a roster spot by cutting ties with one of their own players.
As with all available big men, the Celtics will have competition. Unlike some veterans, however, they can offer an obvious role as a backup forward and a chance to be part of an interesting rebuilding project while playing alongside Rajon Rondo.