In a move that no one saw coming, Portland claimed JJ Hickson off waivers. To make room for Hickson, the Blazers released Mehmet Okur. Per the Oregonian: “Hickson was released by the Sacramento Kings on Monday, after the sides agreed to a buyout on what was left of his $2.3 million salary this season, and it was assumed the 23 year-old was destined to clear waivers and become a free agent. But, in a surprise move, the Blazers claimed the 6-foot-9, 242-pound Hickson, thwarting the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns, teams that were thought to be frontrunners to sign him. ‘He’s a good young big who can play (power forward) and some small (center),’ said Mike Born, the Blazers director of NBA scouting. ‘He’s athletic, a pretty good rebounder. If you look at what he did when he was in Cleveland, he did a pretty good job in a structured role. This is an opportunity for us to look at a pretty good young player.’ The Blazers are hopeful Hickson, who will wear No. 21, will join the team Thursday. [...] Hickson will be a restricted free agent after the season, assuming the Blazers extend a qualifying offer, and it’s possible he could be a long-term piece of the franchise moving forward. Essentially, the final 20 games of the season will serve as an audition. ‘There’s a chance he could be with us long term,’ said Mike Born, the Blazers director of NBA scouting. ‘He’s a guy we would consider keeping around.’”