Blazers Ready to Part Ways With JJ Hickson

by April 10, 2013

There’s no skirting around the issue for Blazers GM Neil Olshey—JJ Hickson, an unrestricted free agent this summer, will more than likely be playing somewhere other than Portland next season. The Blazers need a bigger defensive presence down low, and they don’t want to pay Hickson the kind of money he’ll command on the open market. Per the Oregonian: “The Blazers, who have given up the most interior points in the NBA, want to find a more defensive-oriented center next season, while Hickson – a power forward who bit his tongue and played as an undersized center for the Blazers – wants to start, and is eager to test his market value when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Blazers general manager Neil Olshey this week said he is not ruling out keeping Hickson on the roster, but he doubts the team will have the role, and the money, to pacify Hickson’s desires next season. ‘For us to make a jump next season, JJ can’t be our starting center,’ Olshey said, referencing the Blazers’ 47.4 points allowed in the paint per game, an NBA high. ‘I’m not saying he can’t be part of the roster. But we need to find a starting-caliber center who protects the rim and gets defensive rebounds at a high rate and that has a presence. And we have to do a better job at defending the paint. So you have to ask: Is it likely there is enough minutes to commit the kind of dollars JJ will command, when clearly there are other positions that need to be upgraded? Probably not.'”