What's Next For J.J. Hickson?

In addition to being superlative fodder for jokes, J.J. Hickson is a real pickle for the Sacramento Kings. The inability to trade him at the deadline means that Geoff Petrie has a tough decision in the offseason, and that Keith Smart has an uncomfortable reality starting the second that Hickson is cleared to play.

For Petrie: do you tender Hickson a $3.3 million qualifying offer? While the Kings project to remain stacked to the Heavens with cap space -- an amnesty waiver of John Salmons would give Sacramento $20 million in space -- that $3.3 million is nothing to sneeze at, and one can assume that Hickson would take it to get to unrestricted free agent status in 2013 (unless some silly team offers a multi-year deal). Do you want to be blowing $6.3 million on Travis Outlaw and J.J. Hickson a year from now? I think not. But not presenting a qualifying offer would open up Petrie to criticisms of the Hickson-Casspi trade that the GM simply won't be able to deflect.

For Smart: do you continue to play a player who clearly isn't working out well in your system with your better players? Doing so would probably be prudent -- he's a young player after all, and it's probably a little too early to write him off completely, no matter what our eyes say -- but the coach seems far more comfortable keeping the minutes between Jason Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, Chuck Hayes and any number of converted-guard small forwards. It may also behoove Smart to keep Petrie happy by stringing as much production as possible from Hickson, a potential embarrassment to the GM.

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