Denver will give Hickson, a 6-foot-9 forward-center, the annual full mid-level exception of approximately $5 million, plus the 4.5 percent annual bonuses allowed per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, sources said.
The Nuggets lost free-agent forward Andre Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors on a four-year, $48 million deal.
Denver GM Tim Connelly is still working to get an agreement with restricted free agent center Timofey Mozgov, sources said. The Hickson deal doesn't deter the franchise's desire to bring the 7-foot Russian center back on a multi-year deal.
Hickson, 24, averaged 12.7 points and 10.4 rebounds for the Portland Trail Blazers last season. He was seventh in the NBA with 40 double-doubles for the Blazers.
After Cleveland drafted Hickson with the 19th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, he played three seasons with the Cavaliers, part of the 2011-'12 season with Sacramento and most of the past two years with the Blazers.
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