The Nuggets are actively in pursuit of trades that would send out J.J. Hickson, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported last month that Denver was said to be making the power forward available. Hickson is pulling down nearly $5.614MM this season on an expiring contract.
It’s no surprise that the Nuggets would try to see what they can get for the 27-year-old, since he’s appeared in only one game since December 8th. A root canal forced him out of Denver’s landmark win over the Warriors last week, but he’s otherwise sat because he’s been out of coach Michael Malone‘s rotation. That’s a change from early in the season, when he made nine starts, averaging 9.3 points and 6.6 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per contest in those games. He’s produced 7.6 points and 4.8 boards in 16.8 minutes per game in 18 appearances overall this year, numbers similar to last season but down from 2013/14, the first on his three-year, $16.145MM deal.
Freshly extended GM Tim Connelly has the Nuggets slightly below the salary cap and just two and a half games behind the Jazz for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, though they’d have to pass the Trail Blazers and Kings to catch Utah in the crowded standings. It’s unclear whether the Nuggets will buy or sell as the February 18th trade deadline approaches. Kyler wrote last month when he reported that both Hickson and Randy Foye were said to be available that the belief around the league was growing that the Nuggets might be close to offloading talent. However, Denver has won four of its last six after losing nine of its previous 10.
The Nuggets are likely to receive the protected 2016 first-round pick the Rockets owe them, though the one headed their way from Portland is a toss-up and the one from Memphis is unlikely to convey this year, as I noted last week. Denver also gets to swap picks with the Knicks if New York’s pick is better.
What do you think the Nuggets should prioritize receiving in a Hickson trade? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.