- Associated Press - Thursday, June 30, 2011

CLEVELAND (AP) - J.J. Hickson’s athleticism and potential made him a budding NBA star. His inconsistency made him maddening and expendable.

On Thursday, the Cleveland Cavaliers decided it was time to move on without him.

Clearing out a logjam at power forward, they traded the enigmatic Hickson to the Sacramento Kings for forward Omri Casspi and a future first-round pick.

Hickson spent three mostly productive seasons in Cleveland, but his days were numbered when the club drafted Texas forward Tristan Thompson with the No. 4 overall pick last week. Hickson was part of the Cavs’ core when they won more than 60 regular-season games in consecutive seasons and pushed deep into the playoffs.

And although he may have been Cleveland’s most talented player, a tendency to disappear in games and an overall lack of intensity _ especially rebounding _ frustrated Cavaliers coach Byron Scott last season. Scott was hard and demanded more of Hickson, who finally picked up his game and averaged 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds.

But with Thompson, Antawn Jamison and Samardo Samuels at power forward, someone had to go and it was Hickson, drafted by the Cavs with the No. 19 overall pick in 2008.

“I’m kind of glad it’s over with so my name is not involved in so many trade rumors,” Hickson said. “I think the Kings did a good job in picking up a young athletic big that is going to give his all and give it 110 percent.”

Jamison was stunned the Cavs would deal the 22-year-old Hickson.

“He’s a great talent,” Jamison said at an appearance in North Carolina. “Hopefully this move will be what he needs to take things to the next level, but it was definitely surprising. It was a logjam (at power forward). With who we took with the fourth pick, that created it. (Hickson) has such of an upside. I guess I was really a big fan of him. I thought he was going to be one of those guys who actually got it. They wanted to go in a different route.”

The Cavs were also seeking a young, wing player to pair with Thompson and No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving and they believe they’ve gotten one in the 23-year-old Casspi, a player they considered drafting when he first made himself available several years ago.

“We like Casspi,” said Cavs general manager Chris Grant, who wouldn’t say if he expects Casspi to start immediately. “He’s a tough, athletic, 6-foot-9 kid. He’s got a nastiness and fight about him.”

Grant was quick to point out that Casspi, who played two seasons with the Kings, made 47 percent of his 3-point tries from the corner, another weapon for Scott and a target for Irving.

“It gives us a chance to give the guys room to grow on the court together and gives our roster more balance financially moving forward,” Grant said. “I felt that, where our team is, and where it’s headed, that this was the right move for our franchise.”

Casspi became the first Israeli ever to play in the NBA when he was drafted by Sacramento 23rd overall in 2009. The designation came with as much fanfare as it did pressure to succeed from a country that loves basketball. He started 27 games for the Kings, but his minutes were limited playing behind promising youngsters DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson and Donte Green.

Casspi was excited about coming to Cleveland to play for Scott.

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