The Nuggets will do a buyout with J.J. Hickson no later than March 1st, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Stein indicates that Denver has already committed to place Hickson on waivers by that date, though he says Hickson’s situation is the same as that of Steve Novak, whom Stein previously indicated would merely engage in buyout talks with the Nuggets. Regardless, the Hickson news is no surprise, as Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports reported earlier this week before the trade deadline that Hickson was almost certain to end up with a buyout.
The 27-year-old power forward is making $5,613,500 on an expiring deal, so it appears he’ll be giving up some of that money to secure his release in time to latch on with a playoff team. Players who hit waivers after March 1st aren’t eligible to appear in the postseason for another club.
Stein reported in January that Denver was actively shopping Hickson, about a month after Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders wrote that the Hickson was said to be available. The Jeff Schwartz client and his representatives at Excel Sports Management pushed hard for a trade, according to Sam Amico of Amico Hoops (on Twitter), but none materialized before the 2pm Central time deadline today.
Hickson has appeared in just three games since December 8th. He averaged 7.9 points and 4.8 rebounds in 17.2 minutes per game across 17 appearances this season prior to that date, with coach Michael Malone going so far as to put him in the starting lineup on nine occasions.