The trade deadline has passed, but another big transaction deadline is coming up this week. That’s the deadline to sign players and have them be eligible to make a postseason roster.
The San Antonio Spurs have reportedly found their back up point guard, but still have room for at least one more player (two if they don’t sign Eric Dawson for the rest of the season). In the last two big men who are still relatively young and only a season removed from being rotation regulars have become available. Yesterday, the Nuggets waived center Ronny Turiaf and today the Sacramento Kings announced they released power forward J.J. Hickson.
The Hickson news was first reported by Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Pro Basketball Talk’s John Krolik points out that Hickson is incredibly athletic, but was also incredibly ineffective in Sacramento this season.
Hickson was a key member of two Cleveland Cavalier teams that won 60 plus games before getting traded. Last season, he averaged 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game for Cleveland before getting traded over the summer for forward Omri Casspi.
Turiaf has never been a stats guy as much as he is a defensive tough guy. He’s an average rebounder, but a good shot blocker and defender. He also hits a mid range jumper at a decent rate.
Essentially, Turiaf and Hickson are polar opposites. Turiaf is who you sign if you need some blocked shots and hustle plays from your bench. Hickson is who you sign if you need some scoring off your bench. Despite being only 6’9″, he’s long and athletic enough to be a good defender, the only problem is he’s not. Turiaf, who stands at 6’10″, isn’t a lock down defender, but he’s good, tough and played a key role on a Laker team that went to the Finals before falling to Boston.
The Spurs are likely to have some competition from other contenders like Miami and Boston for both of these guys, but either would make a good fifth guy off the bench. I think Turiaf for his smarts and ability to block a shot would make a better fit.
Stay tuned to Project Spurs for updates on the Spurs’ interest in either player or any other big man that might get bought out this week.
UPDATE: Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns are the front runners to sign Hickson.