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Blazers claim Hickson off waivers

The Trail Blazers have claimed forward JJ Hickson off waivers, sources told

The fourth-year forward was given a buyout from the Kings on Monday, and sources had said he intended on signing with the Warriors after he cleared waivers.

Hickson had even flown from Sacramento to join the Warriors in New Orleans in anticipation of playing with the team, but will now have to head to Portland to prepare for a Thursday home game against the Grizzlies.

The Blazers are intrigued by Hickson's upside, as he is an athletic and physical player who averaged 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds in his third and final season in Cleveland (2010-11). The Blazers will have the remainder of the season to analyze the current state of his game, and he will be their restricted free agent this summer.

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Portland will pay the remainder of his contract for this season, which was initially $2.3 million total but is pro-rated because of the lockout-shortened season.

Hickson, the 19th pick in the 2008 draft out of North Carolina State, struggled in his one season in Sacramento. He averaged just 4.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in 18 minutes in 35 games.