You may now commence laughing at the Sacramento Kings, who surrendered Omri Casspi and a first-round draft choice this summer in return for 35 disappointing games of J.J. Hickson.
The Kings bought out Hickson’s contract on Monday, making the 23-year old a free agent assuming he clears waivers (as Paul Flannery warns, since he’s a 23-year old with a teeny contract, he might not).
The Boston Celtics were rumored to have conversations with Sacramento regarding Hickson’s availability prior to the trading deadline. Though he doesn’t perfectly fit their biggest need (at 6-foot-9, Hickson certainly isn’t a natural center), the Celtics will surely be interested in a 23-year old free agent big who averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds in 28 minutes per game during the 2011 season.
Indeed, Hickson’s 2012 season to date has left a lot to be desired — he shot 37 percent in those 35 games with the Kings, hasn’t come close to reaching last year’s production and has missed nine of the past 10 games with back spasms and a hip pointer. But he’s a young talent who’s already demonstrated the ability to succeed at the NBA level, and best of all, he’s a good rebounder — even in a down year, Hickson’s total rebounding rate is very similar to Kevin Garnett’s.
Could the Celtics possibly ink Hickson, who killed them in spurts during the 2010 playoffs? Are there white flags surrounding the youngster due to the curious way he left Sacramento? Is Hickson potentially a phenomenal alley-oop partner for Rajon Rondo? Is anybody still listening to me?
The answers are yes, yes, yes and no.