CLEVELAND – J.J. Hickson said he didn’t envision the Cavaliers trading him, even when they selected another power forward (Tristan Thompson) in the June draft.
But trade Hickson is exactly what the Cavs did, shipping him to Sacramento for small forward Omri Casspi and a conditional first-round pick.
“I didn’t see it coming,” Hickson said. “But it happened and I’m a Sacramento King now.”
Hickson spent his first three NBA seasons with the Cavs, but has struggled during his brief time with the Kings — averaging 5.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Against Detroit on Friday, he compiled 0 points and 0 boards in eight minutes.
Hickson shook hands and exchanged pleasantries with Cleveland reporters prior to the Kings’ game vs. the Cavs on Sunday. He spoke in a subdued and friendly tone, offering thought-out and honest answers.
When asked if it has been a tough adjustment in Sacramento, he responded “Of course.”
He continued, “I think you can see it in my game. My minutes went down a lot. I’m not playing the minutes I want to play.”
Last season, Hickson said he felt he was one of the best power forwards in the league. So what’s happened so far this year?
“Honestly, I don’t know,” he said. “Playing in a new system, with two new coaches in less than two months, new style of play, new personnel … everything’s a blur right now. I just gotta keep working and trying to get better.”
Hickson will be a free agent at the end of the season. When with the Cavs, he may have been in line for a big payday. Now, not so much.
“I think things are going to take of themselves,” Hickson said, shrugging. “Ya know, I’m not having the year I want to have. Not just personally, but we’re not winning.
“After last year, I didn’t want to come to a situation like this. I wanted to rebuild (with the Cavs).”
Hickson said his loyalty was to the Cavs, despite the 26-game losing streak last year — simply because they were the team that drafted him. He said he doesn’t know the reason why he was traded.
“To this day, I still don’t know,” he said. “But it’s over and done with. … I’m not going to sit here and cry and pout. Things happen.”
Finally, Hickson was asked if he thought he could make it work with the Kings, and paused.
“Yeah, I think so,” he said. “I got time.”
Then he laughed and gave a large smile.
“I ain’t got all day though,” he said.