Blazer Fanatic

Feb 12

Why would JJ Hickson veto a trade?

By Blazer Fanatic Posted in: Blazers

If the Blazers can find a player and team they want to target before the trade dead-line that involves trading JJ Hickson, why does JJ veto that trade?

If you didn't already know, JJ has the right to veto any trade because he was awarded his Bird Rights, and was signed to a one year contract with Portland (his team last year). The reason he has that right, is because if he is traded, he will lose those Bird Rights. A loop hole was closed in the CBA regarding one year contracts and Bird Rights, as a team could previously sign a player to a one year contract, trade them, and the new team could then re-sign them for well over the salary cap using the Larry Bird exception.  This veto prevents teams from making a unilateral decision to forfeit a player's Bird Rights, which belong to the player.
I've seen several people argue that JJ would be stupid not to veto any trade, because he would lose his Bird Rights. Makes sense right?

Not so much.  JJ will lose his Bird Rights as well should Portland not pick up his cap hold, which is $7.6 million, and reduces the available cap Portland has for free agents this summer. I asked ESPN's resident salary cap guru Larry Coons on Twitter to confirm.

Unless the Blazers intend to pick up JJ's cap hold, is this really a reason to veto a trade? No. As Coons said, they "don't mean anything." Bird Rights affect JJ's current team (the Blazers), not any other team in this instance.

The only viable reason for JJ to veto a trade in the event Portland says, "We aren't going to pick up your cap hold," has nothing to do with his salary.  A reasonable veto would be perhaps he doesn't want to pick up and move, or that he doesn't want to play for the team the Blazers want to trade him to. 

Where I think this hurts JJ, is that IF Portland decides they aren't going to pick up his cap hold, AND JJ won't accept a trade the Blazers like, then what's to keep Portland from sitting JJ to allow guys they plan on keeping next season to pick up some of his minutes? It would seem to reason that would hurt JJ's value come free agency.

So, despite conventional thinking, the Blazers have some leverage here.  And the question for Portland is, should the Blazers pick up JJ's cap hold ($7.6 mil), essenitally cutting their available cap space in half with only 9 players signed?


  1. From what I've read, JJ's agent is getting a lot of calls but nobody is ringing Olshey's phone. JJ sounds excited about the possibilities and I'm sure he wants to get paid and be a franchise PF somewhere. Now I think it's up to him to make a decision and ask Portland for a deal that would help both parties. I didn't want to lose him but just don't see how we'll afford him and address our needs. If he truly loves it here he'd have to go to the bench and take less money.

    by riverman on 2/15/2013 1:52 PM
  2. "If he truly loves it here he'd have to go to the bench and take less money. " Exactly. And it has nothing to do with liking JJ. When an Agent tells a reporter, their player is getting calls... see Batum. His agent said they would meet with every NBA team before he ever met with Portland. Batum met with exactly 1 team before meeting with Portland. It's all just speculation, but there is a real stong case to be made that Portland won't blow $7+ mil in cap space on JJ's QO.

    by Blazer Fanatic on 2/15/2013 4:46 PM
  3. Good stuff. Just a couple of technical things:

    1) Portland doesn't have the right to give JJ a Qualifying Offer this June. He's off of his rookie scale contract and has played more than 3 years in the league, so he's not eligible for a QO.

    2) Not giving a player a Qualifying Offer doesn't necessarily mean that they don't retain his Bird Rights. It just means that he's an unrestricted free agent and not a restricted free agent. Meaning that it's possible for a team to not make a Qualifying Offer but still retain Bird Rights.

    by Storyteller on 2/26/2013 1:41 PM
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