The Washington Wizards have signed veteran free agent forward J.J. Hickson, the team announced Thursday in a news release.
The impending signing was previously reported on Tuesday. Hickson, 27, was available after the Denver Nuggets bought his contract out on Monday. Hickson signed for the pro-rated veteran’s minimum, according to people with knowledge of the situation, and will join the Wizards for Friday’s game in Philadelphia.
The Wizards have a $2.8 million disabled player exception to use until March 10, which the league gave them after Martell Webster was declared out for the remainder of the season and later waived, but will not use it entirely to remain under the luxury tax threshold. The Wizards were about $1 million below the line and signing Hickson to the minimum keeps them from paying any penalty.
A 6-foot-9, eight-year veteran, Hickson appeared in 20 games for Denver this season, averaging 6.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 15.3 minutes. He will serve as the Wizards’ third center behind Marcin Gortat and Nene. The Wizards had a roster spot open and need for another front-court body after trading big men Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair plus a first-round pick to the Phoenix Suns for Markieff Morris last Thursday.
“Signing J.J. for the remainder of the season gives us another solid veteran who will bring more depth to our front court,” Wizards team President Ernie Grunfeld said in the statement. “His experience, athletic ability and physical presence will be solid additions to our team as we continue our playoff push.”
The 19th overall pick in 2008 draft, Hickson spent his first three seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He then played for the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers before joining the Nuggets in 2013. He averaged a career-high 13.8 points in his third season with the Cavaliers and a double-double (12.7 points and 10.4 rebounds) during the 2012-13 campaign with the Trail Blazers, but had his role reduced over the last the past two seasons in Denver.