Zach Lowe of Grantland.com includes Portland Trail Blazers forward/center J.J. Hickson on a list of players who could be traded in advance of this year's trade deadline.
This Saturday, December 15, marks the date on which teams can trade most of the free agents they signed in the offseason. The lifting of that restriction won't inundate the market with hugely desirable players, in part because salary cap quirks keep free agents who received some of the biggest raises off the market until January 15 (Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, Roy Hibbert, Ersan Ilyasova) or for the remainder of the season (Eric Gordon, Nic Batum, and any other restricted free agent whose team exercised matching rights to keep him).
But there are still some interesting names available, and more players makes the cap mechanics easier for some of the intriguing rumored trade targets already eligible (Pau Gasol, Andrea Bargnani, etc.). League executives agree the chatter has been quiet so far, but they say that every season, and it's early yet.
Neil Olshey has a reputation as a risk-taker, and rival executives are wondering if he might try to get ahead of any potential LaMarcus Aldridge discontent and start at least thinking about potential deals. Hickson becomes trade-eligible on Saturday, but as a Bird Rights guy on a one-year contract, he can veto any deal. Hickson was halfway out of the league not long ago, but he has worked in Portland to focus on what he does well - rebounding and scoring off cuts - and less on what he wishes he could do well.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter