Dempsey: Nuggets F J.J. Hickson Says Blazers GM Neil Olshey's Comments "Rubbed Me The Wrong Way"

USA TODAY Sports

Denver Nuggets forward J.J. Hickson reflects on his upcoming match-up against his former team, the Portland Trail Blazers.

Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post catches up with Denver Nuggets forward J.J. Hickson, who is set to face his former team, the Portland Trail Blazers, on Friday night.

"A couple of things were said in the media by Neil Olshey that kind of rubbed me the wrong way," Hickson said. "But other than that I appreciate the opportunity and there's no bad blood."

...

"It's my sixth year in the league," Hickson said. "I've played previous teams before. I've been there, done that."

Aaron J. Lopez of Nuggets.com adds more reaction...

"I'm excited to play my previous team. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't," he said. "But I'm not going to go out and do anything that I don't (normally) do. I'm going to play my game and try to get a win."

...

"There's no hard feelings between me and the organization at all," Hickson said. "I appreciated the opportunity, and there's no bad blood.

"I'm not going to put any extra emphasis on trying to score the ball or talking trash because I do that anyway. They know exactly what they're getting, so it's not going to be a surprise to anybody."

Hickson, 25, averaged 12.7 points and 10.4 rebounds for the Blazers as the starting center last season.

Portland claimed Hickson off of waivers after he was released by the Sacramento Kings in March 2012 and then re-signed him to a one-year, $4 million contract in 2012. He then signed a three-year, $16.1 million contract with the Nuggets in July, days after the Blazers agreed to trade for new starting center Robin Lopez.

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Hickson wasn't expected back in Portland, although he left the door open during his April exit interview.

Future with Blazers: "That's to be determined. All I can do is control what I can control. That's play basketball. Let the front office and my agent handle that part of it. ... It's still to be determined. You never know what happens in the offseason with different trades and things like that. Right now I'm just sitting back, getting ready for the summer and let the cookies crumble where they may."

Want to return? "I definitely want to come back. This is the best season of my career. I think I've thrived in this system and playing under coach Stotts. Why not come back?"

Jason Quick of The Oregonian reported in April that Blazers GM Neil Olshey saw the starting center position as one that needed to be improved.

"For us to make a jump next season, J.J. can't be our starting center,'' Olshey said, referencing the Blazers' 47.4 points allowed in the paint per game, an NBA high. "I'm not saying he can't be part of the roster. But we need to find a starting-caliber center who protects the rim and gets defensive rebounds at a high rate and that has a presence. And we have to do a better job at defending the paint. So you have to ask: Is it likely there is enough minutes to commit the kind of dollars J.J. will command, when clearly there are other positions that need to be upgraded? Probably not.''

PS Big thanks to @Blazersman1 for the heads up.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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