When they drafted Tristan Thompson with the fourth-overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, it created a logjam at power forward, and made either Antawn Jamison or Hickson expendable. In need of an upgrade on the wing, the Cavs turn their excessive depth at power forward into a likely starting small forward in Casspi. In addition, they get a future first-round pick that will help their re-building project.
My problem with this trade is that I think Hickson will be a better NBA player than Thompson. With Jamison in the final year of his deal, Thompson is going to get the reins to the starting power forward position in one year. Cleveland obviously feels comfortable with that happening. I would not.
Why this makes sense for Sacramento:
Casspi was unhappy with his role in Sacramento at the end of the season and reportedly wanted out of town. He gets his wish and the Kings obtain another young, talented frontcourt player to go along with DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson. Hickson will help fill the void up front left behind by free agent Samuel Dalembert, though he is not a true defensive-minded big man like Dalembert.
The first-round pick is lottery-protected in 2012, top 13-protected in 2013, top 12 in 2014, and top 10-protected from 2015-2017. More than likely, the Kings will not be giving up a first-round pick until they become a playoff team. By then, they will be looking to add pieces to their current young core and not in need of a young player, so that makes sense. If the Kings are still terrible for the next six years and do not end up giving the Cavs a first-round pick, that future selection becomes a second rounder in 2017.