Omri Casspi

Cavaliers trade J.J. Hickson to Kings for Omri Casspi


Multiple reports now have the deal done, one trade right before the deadline.

The Cavaliers and Kings will swap young forwards, with J.J. Hickson going to the Kings for Omri Casspi. This deal may be the last before lockout begins at midnight, according to a tweet from Marc Stein or ESPN. The Cavaliers also would get a conditional first round pick from the Kings (lottery protected for one year, top 10 protected in the second year).

Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated confirms that Casspi has been told he likely will be traded in the next few hours. The Sacramento Bee is reporting the trade as done (as do other outlets now).

The two are both young forwards who play the same position (essentially, Casspi is listed as a three, Hickson a four, but both operate inside and out), but their games are very different. Hickson is an athletic, slashing forward who gets most of his shots at the rim and is not a great jump shooter. Hickson has improved as a rebounder in his three years in the league.

Hickson seemed a likely guy to be traded once the Cavaliers took Tristan Thompson No. 4 in the NBA Draft last week. Sacramento will likely use DeMarcus Cousins at the four and five and Hickson at the three and four, with Jason Thompson in the mix — that is a young and athletic front line.

Casspi has NBA shooting range — he hit 37 percent from three — but is not a guy who can attack the paint the same way. Hickson was a more productive player, but Casspi felt he was not used properly in Sacramento. With him the Cavaliers get some real toughness — the guy has fire in him. Fans will like him.

Both are on their rookie deals, so the salaries match up.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.