J.J. Hickson, wearing one of the four uniforms he's donned over the last 11 months (Getty Images)It's a caveat you hear quite a bit in NBA circles, but it rarely is applied. A newly bought-out player can become a free agent "if he clears waivers." And, with most teams stuck over the salary cap or close enough to it to where the addition of a free agent's already-agreed-upon salary would make claiming someone on waivers NBA-illegal, most players clear waivers. Mostly because the sorts of players stuck in these would-be transactions are veteran luxury types, like Derek Fisher who cleared waivers and signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
J.J. Hickson is a veteran, but he's young enough at age 23 to be both coveted as a potential project to work with, and a disappointment because of his lacking play on the defensive end despite four NBA seasons to his credit. The latter is why the Sacramento Kings, though rebuilding around youth, dumped him last week. The former is why the Golden State Warriors wanted to sign him; and why he was on the court with the team as they prepared for a game in New Orleans, ready to take part in a shootaround, when he was told that he didn't clear waivers, and that the Portland Trail Blazers signed him instead, and that he had to get on a plane to Oregon. Way to be presumptuous, NBA.
Here's how Hickson recalls it, as quoted by the Oregonian:Read More »from Minutes away from joining a Warriors practice, J.J. Hickson was told he was a Trail Blazer