The Sacramento Kings will trade Omri Casspi to the Cleveland Cavaliers for J.J. Hickson, according to multiple reports. The Kings may also be including a future first-round pick, per the Akron Beacon-Journal. ESPN's Marc Stein first reported the deal; Sam Amick has since confirmed that the Kings notified Casspi he'll be sent to Cleveland.
Hickson will soon turn 23, and is under contract for just one more year on his rookie scale contract ($2.3 million). Casspi has two more years under rookie scale at $3.5 million total. Hickson is a definite power forward; he lacks the size to handle center, and the quickness and range to play small forward. (Luckily, the two incumbent big men -- DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson -- can play center.)
Hickson was an excellent rebounder last season, but his offensive efficiency fell off the table as his usage shot up to fill the LeBron James void. He struggled to earn Byron Scott's favor -- defense and effort were said to be issues -- but has played well under both Scott and Mike Brown. Notably, he started 73 games for the 61-win 2010 Cavs. But he played very little in the playoffs that season as Shaq came back from injury.
If this works for the Kings, Hickson would be No. 3 or 4 on the offensive pecking order as a starter, and higher if playing off the bench or with players other than Cousins, Tyreke Evans and Jimmer Fredette. It also depends what's going on with this rumored draft pick that's involved. We'll see.
UPDATE: The Kings have confirmed the deal. Sam Amick reports that the pick will be lottery protected in 2012, protected in the top 10 in 2013 and on down.
UPDATE NO. 2: Stein has the lowdown on protections on the pick going to Cleveland:
Protected 1-to-14 in 2012, 1-to-13 in 2013, 1-to-12 in 2014, 1-to-10 from 2015-2017. If first-round pick is not conveyed from SAC to CLE by 2017, then Kings convey their 2017 second-rounder to Cavaliers (protected 56-60).
If the Kings are in the bottom 10 in the NBA in 2017, we're in enough trouble that losing a second-round pick won't matter.