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

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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.

Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. guesses Vince Carter’s first NBA season was in 1987 (video)

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Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. insisted he meant no disrespect to Luka Doncic after liking an Instagram comment that called the Mavericks rookie overrated.

But this is darn sure disrespectful toward Vince Carter.

Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype:

Carter – who signed with the Hawks for next season – entered the NBA in 1998. He’s old, but he’s not that old.

Hawks rookie Trae Young: ‘I know there is a lot on my plate’

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The Grizzlies plan to bring No. 4 pick Jaren Jackson along slowly.

No. 5 pick Trae Young won’t have the same luxury.

After picking Young, the Hawks traded Dennis Schroder, their incumbent starting point guard. Though Atlanta also dealt for Jeremy Lin, Young knows where he stands.

Young, via Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“Obviously when they move the point guard they’ve had for a while, their starting point guard, it definitely opened my eyes,” Young told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from New Jersey, where he was taking part in the Rookie Transition Program. “It shows how much they are committed to me. Bringing Jeremy in as well is a good fit for us. I know there is a lot on my plate. I’m looking forward to it.”

Unlike Memphis, the Hawks aren’t trying to win now. They can ride through Young’s highs and lows.

Though I’m quite high on Young, I also expect him to struggle next season. Most rookies do, especially point guards. And the small Young could face an especially tough adjustment to NBA size and athleticism.

But he seems to be embracing the challenge with the right attitude, giving himself the best chance of emerging on the other side ready to lead an NBA team.

76ers’ Ben Simmons: ‘We’ve got to get past Boston. Those are the guys at the top right now’

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After winning the Eastern Conference the last eight years, LeBron James leaving the Cavaliers for the Lakers has created a power vacuum in the East.

The Celtics, Bucks, Wizards and Pistons have staked their claims as teams ready to fill the void. The Raptors announced themselves with their trade for Kawhi Leonard.

But 76ers forward Ben Simmons isn’t ready to put Philadelphia atop the Eastern Conference hierarchy.

Simmons, via James McKern of SportingNews:

“We’ve got to get past Boston, those are the guys at the top right now. Beating them, that’s our next goal,” Simmons said.

“Obviously getting further than the second round and winning the Eastern Conference Finals and then moving on to the Finals.

This is a surprisingly restrained approach by Simmons. Many of his peers are talking bigger.

But the 76ers belong behind the Celtics, who beat Philadelphia in the second round last year. The 76ers could pass Boston. They just must prove it. In the meantime, Simmons is paying the Celtics proper deference.

Don’t forget about Toronto, though. Though Boston and Philadelphia were poised to own this next era in the East, Leonard reinvigorates the Raptors. If he’s healthy, they belong at the top with the Celtics.

Report: Jon Leuer expected to return to Pistons by start of season

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Pistons big Jon Leuer underwent meniscus surgery, leaving plenty of doubt about his availability for next season.

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

After losing Anthony Tolliver in free agency (to the Timberwolves), Detroit needs Leuer as a stretch big off the bench. Unless Henry Ellenson is ready for rotation minutes, which…

If Leuer isn’t quite ready for the start of the season, Stanley Johnson could play small-ball four, but that weakens wing depth.

The Pistons’ best hope is Leuer getting healthy on schedule.