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“I know he’s a tough coach who likes tough players,” he said on a teleconference from Los Angeles. “That’s good for me.”

He also wondered what Grant meant about him being “nasty.”

“Sometimes I play hard,” he said with a laugh, “and sometimes I might play too hard.”

The Cavaliers said the first-round pick they obtained is lottery protected in 2012 (Nos. 1-14). The pick is then protected in 2013 (1-13), 2014 (1-12) and 2015-2017 (1-10). If the pick is not conveyed by 2017, then Sacramento will convey its own 2017 second-round pick to the Cavaliers.

Hickson will join a Kings team undergoing change while dealing with an uncertain future.

On the verge of relocating earlier this year to Anaheim, Calif., the Kings need to build momentum with a strong showing this season for a new arena in Sacramento. NBA Commissioner David Stern and Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof have all but guaranteed the franchise will relocate if the city doesn’t approve to plan to help finance a new arena by March 1, which is usually the deadline for teams to file for relocation for the following season.

The team caused a stir on draft night by acquiring Brigham Young’s Jimmer Fredette, the high-scoring, highly debated guard whose addition has sparked some interest. The Kings intend to pair Fredette in the backcourt with Tyreke Evans, the league’s top rookie in 2009-10.

Hickson will certainly improve Sacramento’s frontcourt. He can play forward or center.

“This is a chance to acquire a young player that has already proven himself to a pretty decent level in the league and someone who can strengthen our roster,” Kings GM Geoff Petrie said, adding he had trade talks with the Cavs before and during the draft. “There is still a lot of upside there. A lot of the players taken in the draft a week ago are not that much younger than J.J. and he has had three years in the league and he was getting more productive each year.”

Kings coach Paul Westphal is excited about the Hickson-Cousins-Thompson trio.

“He is a really good fit,” Westphal said. “All three of those players can play a little bit (of) center and power forward. It gives us a very solid rotation. (Hickson) has shown versatility and ability to fit in. I don’t think that you necessarily have to run every play for him to have him be effective. But at the same time, he can be effective if you run plays for him.

“He’s somebody that we are getting at a real good time in his career. He’s already shown a track record of success.”


AP Sports Writer Mike Cranston in Charlotte, N.C. and freelancer Antonio Harvey in Sacramento, Calif., contributed to this report.