Omer Asik Rumors: Trading Center Would Weaken Rockets' Bench

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIJuly 5, 2013

May 3, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Omer Asik (3) reacts after a play during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder in game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

If Sam Amick's report that Dwight Howard has chosen the Houston Rockets as his next team is true, then the signing could lead to a trade demand from the Rockets' current starting center, Omer Asik.

UPDATE: Saturday, July 6, at 1:43 a.m. ET by Tyler Conway

Don't look for Asik to be wearing a Pelicans uniform anytime soon, after all. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, New Orleans has not talked to the Rockets about bringing in Asik, nor does it have any interest in doing so:

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 11:37 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo

Dwight Howard released a statement on his decision via Twitter: 

I've decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets. I feel its the best place for me and I am excited about joining the Rockets and I'm looking forward to a great season. I want to thank the fans in Los Angeles and wish them the best."

Now that Howard has officially joined the Rockets, the writing may be on the wall for Asik, who might not be interested in playing second fiddle to D12.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 8:34 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo

Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reveals a potential trade partner if the Rockets are looking to move Asik:

---End of Update---

Per Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the 27-year-old has no interest in backing up or playing alongside Howard in Houston. He could demand a trade to land with a team that gives him an opportunity to start in the middle.

In case you're wondering why sliding Asik to the bench or to power forward is a given with Howard reportedly on board, it's because of plays like this:

Moving Asik could be a little difficult considering he's owed $14.9 million in 2014-15, the final year of his deal. However, he's a solid defensive presence who averaged a double-double (10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds) last season in Houston.

Teams will certainly be interested in him considering how starved the league is for quality big men.

Ideally, the Rockets could play Asik in the role that he's best suited for, which is as a backup center. With Asik in that capacity, the Rockets would have far and away the best center rotation in the NBA.

It is a luxury that could come in handy if they were to advance into the NBA Finals and face the Miami Heat, who still don't have a true center. If the Rockets are forced to move him to maintain harmony, then they must replace him with a dependable backup to spell Howard.

The team isn't going to find a player willing to play the role who is as good or better than Asik, but simply having the depth is essential.

Howard has had back issues over the past two seasons. He missed only six games last season with the Lakers, but he missed 28 regular-season games and the playoffs in 2011-12 with the Orlando Magic.

The Rockets need a player who can spell D12 from time to time when he needs a night off, or on a nightly basis, if he gets into early foul trouble.

Preferably, the player that the team chooses to play this underrated—but significant—role would keep the team from falling off too badly on defense in D12's prolonged or intermittent absence.

For the time being, players like Tim Ohlbrecht or Greg Smith would step into the role if the Rockets don't bring in a veteran big man. In either case, a potentially strong Rockets bench would be weakened by Asik's departure.


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