According to a report from The Oregonian's Jason Quick, the Trail Blazers and center J.J. Hickson, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, will part ways at the end of the season.
With roughly $11.8MM in cap space this summer, Portland is preparing to spend it on a defensive-minded starting center. Hickson isn't that player, according to the team's general manager Neil Olshey.
“For us to make a jump next season, J.J. can’t be our starting center,’’ he said. “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 J.J. will command, when clearly there are other positions that need to be upgraded? Probably not.’’
Conversely, Hickson would like to be a starter somewhere, and at just 24 years old he'll also be looking for a pay grade increase from the $4MM he's making this season.