Depending on who you ask, forward J.J. Hickson either has to go before the Feb. 21 NBA trade deadline. Or he has to be counted on as part of Portland’s long-term plan. Olshey is smooth, but he’s headed to his first dicey collision, and there’s not a simple way out.
League executives are watching this, of course. I talked to a Western Conference GM on Saturday who said, “This would be so much easier on Neil if the team fell out of the playoff race. Everyone figured that road trip would take Portland out of it, but it’s put them right in the race and if he gets to that deadline in the same position he’s going to have to make a difficult decision with a popular player.”