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Former NBA player J.J. Hickson arrested, charged with armed robbery

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J.J. Hickson, who has been out of the NBA for a couple of seasons now and had been playing overseas this past season, appears to have hit a new low point in his life.

Hickson was arrested for armed robbery in an area about a 40 minutes drive southwest of Atlanta. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

James Edward “JJ” Hickson Jr., 29, was charged with armed robbery with a knife and is currently in the Coweta County Jail, according to jail records. He is being held without bond.

Hickson was charged in connection with a home invasion that happened on Rowe Road in Senoia Friday night, Coweta sheriff spokesman Jimmy Yarbrough confirmed.

At least two people were involved in the home invasion, but only Hickson faces charges, Yarbrough said.

This is a robbery — meaning there were people in the home and they were threatened in the commission of the crime. There were not a lot of other details on the crime at this time.

Hickson grew up in the greater Atlanta area and was a high school standout in basketball, he went on to play at North Carolina State, then in 2008 was the No. 19 pick in the first round of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Hickson played eight years in the NBA for the Cavaliers, Kings, Trail Blazers, Nuggets, and Wizards. While with the Nuggets he suffered an ACL injury that shortened his career (while there he also was suspended for five games for violating the league’s marijuana policy). Hickson earned more than $27 million in salary during his playing career.

After the NBA Hickson played in China, then this past season he played overseas in Lebanon.

Roger Randolph, brother of Kings’ Zach Randolph, killed outside of Indiana bar

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MARION, Ind. (AP) — Authorities say a brother of Sacramento Kings forward Zach Randolph was shot and killed outside of an Indiana bar.

Police say an officer heard gunfire at around 5 a.m. Saturday and found Roger Randolph bleeding between two cars outside of Hop’s Blues Room in Marion.

Police said they don’t know the circumstances surrounding the shooting, but they don’t think it was a random attack.

Zach Randolph grew up in Marion, which is about 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis. He led Marion High School to a state championship in 2000 before heading to Michigan State University and then the NBA, where he has also played for the Portland Trail Blazers, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies. He is a two-time NBA All Star.

Grizzlies name Jerry Stackhouse, Nick Van Exel among eight assistants

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies have named Jerry Stackhouse, Nick Van Exel and six others as assistant coaches.

Coach J.B. Bickerstaff says his staff will emphasize “discipline, grit, physical and mental toughness.” Along with Stackhouse and Van Exel, it will include Chad Forcier, Greg Buckner, Vitaly Potapenko and Adam Mazarei as assistants and J.J. Outlaw and Kevin Burleson as assistant coaches for player development.

Forcier brings 22 years of NBA experience to his position. He was an assistant in San Antonio when the Spurs won the NBA championship in 2014.

Stackhouse compiled a 70-30 record the past two seasons as a head coach in the NBA G League.

Van Exel, Buckner, Mazarei and Outlaw all worked with Bickerstaff last season, when he replaced the fired David Fizdale on an interim basis in November. The team finished 22-60, the second-worst record in the league, but removed the interim tag from Bickerstaff and made him the coach after the season.

Potapenko and Burleson both come to the Grizzlies with NBA and G League coaching experience.

 

Rumor: Sixers want to move into top five in draft

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Philadelphia is loaded with young talent — Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Markelle Fultz — and they are about to add to that with the No. 10 pick in the draft.

That, however, may not be enough.

The Sixers are exploring moving up in the draft, according to former Cavaliers GM David Griffin, speaking on SiriusXM NBA Radio Friday.

Who are they targeting? The expected top five (in some order) right now are DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Mo Bamba. Getting the No. 1 pick away from the Suns is highly unlikely (unless you’re the Spurs with Kawhi Leonard), but it could be any of the other four that the Sixers covet. Or Michael Porter.

The other fundamental question: What would the Sixers have to give up to move up five spots? The trade would be the No. 10 pick and a player that’s good but they’re willing to surrender. Dario Saric?

The Sixers also want to keep their assets around in the chase for Kawhi Leonard, so how serious they truly are about moving up remains to be seen. But Griffin is well connected, this is not conjecture.

Report: Suns to explore No. 1 pick for Kawhi Leonard. Or not.

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There are 29 teams that want to talk Kawhi Leonard trade with the Spurs (once they start taking those calls, they are going to be deliberate about it. Leonard has some leverage here to limit the number of teams by saying he won’t re-sign with them, but a few teams (not just the Lakers) are in the mix.

The Suns are not one of those teams.

However, they have a big chip in the No. 1 pick and GM Ryan McDonough wants to explore the chances, reports Kevin O’Connor at The Ringer.

Several league sources told me they anticipate Suns general manager Ryan McDonough to probe a Leonard deal using the no. 1 pick. Phoenix explored Irving trades last summer but was reluctant to deal Josh Jackson, whom they selected with the fourth overall pick. Leonard is better than Irving, so perhaps it’s time for the Suns to strike now, when they’re armed with assets and an opportunity to trade for a transcendent player. There’s also a sense from league sources that the Suns presumed selection of Arizona big man DeAndre Ayton at no. 1 isn’t a guarantee because of the outside possibility that they’ll get a good enough deal to trade down or out of the draft entirely. Now that Leonard reportedly wants out, anything is possible.

The Kings quickly reached out to a trusted beat writer to squash this rumor.

The Suns should not be in the Kawhi sweepstakes. Here the problem for Phoenix: Even if the Spurs are into a trade that looks something like the No. 1 pick, Josh Jackson, and Tyson Chandler to balance out the salaries, what have the Suns’ got? Kawhi Leonard, Devin Booker, and Dragan Bender — probably not enough to even make the playoffs in the West. Then Leonard bolts as a free agent in 2019 and the Suns are out the No. 1 pick.

Leonard’s team will make it clear to the Suns he’s not re-signing in Phoenix, and that will be that.

However, it is good for the Suns’ fan base to hear their GM is trying, so stuff like this gets leaked. Expect similar reports from other teams in the coming days.