NBA Rumors: Latest on Monta Ellis, Omer Asik and Others From Around the League

Tim KeeneyContributor IJuly 8, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 17:  Omer Asik #3 of the Houston Rockets controls the ball against Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The two biggest free agents may no longer be on the market, and some of the second and third-tier names are beginning to find homes, but there are still many twists and turns ahead in the NBA offseason. 

Whether it is via free agency or sign-and-trades, there is still a slew of players who are set to inevitably change locations this month. 

It has been seemingly one shocking move after another since the start of free agency just a week ago, and the rumors have continued to swirl at an increasing rate. 

Let's take a look at the most recent chatter. 


Atlanta Interested in Monta Ellis?

According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Atlanta Hawks, which showed interest in Monta Ellis before February's trade deadline, are still hot in pursuit of the combo guard:

The Hawks, according to NBA front-office sources, have emerged as a serious suitor for Ellis in free agency on top of the deals Atlanta has already struck with former Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap and returning sharpshooter Kyle Korver. 

There's really no way to describe Ellis other than polarizing. 

The 27-year-old is coming off arguably the worst year of his career since his rookie season. In his first full campaign with the Milwaukee Bucks, he averaged 19.2 points on 17.5 shots and hit a meager 28.7 percent of his 4.0 treys per contest. 

Everyone has always had gripes about Ellis' YOLO-like approach and abominable offensive efficiency, and his uneven season only strengthened those criticisms. 

But Ellis is still a talented, versatile guard in his prime. He can play both guard positions, he can create his own shot, he is an underrated distributor (6.0 assists per game) and he forces a lot of turnovers on defense (2.0 steals per game). 

At the very least, a starting five of Jeff Teague (although his future is uncertain), Ellis, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap and Al Horford is quite compelling. 


Omer Asik Wants Out, Houston Won't Let Him

"I'm locked up, they won't let me out..."

I've always thought that Akon's songs spoke directly to Houston Rockets center Omer Asik, and this only confirms that belief.

From ESPN's Brian Windhorst:

Houston Rockets center Omer Asik has formally asked the team to trade him in the wake of the team landing Dwight Howard in free agency. But the Rockets have no plans to grant Asik's wish, sources told

The Rockets gave Asik a healthy contract last season, and he rewarded them with elite defense and rebounding to go with some efficient finishing around the hoop. He ended the year averaging 10.1 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks.

Unfortunately for Asik, according to head coach Kevin McHale, "When you have an opportunity to get Dwight, it's hard not to."

There will be times when having Asik and Dwight Howard on the court at the same time makes sense. But these are two true centers we're talking about here, and ideal spacing—which is important for James Harden's game—will be tough to come by for the most part. 

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. Asik would be a solid trade chip, but McHale and Co. seem intent on smoothing things over and making him a role player instead of dealing him. 


Chris Kaman to the Lakers?

According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, aka the Man Who Knows All, several teams are interested in Chris Kaman, but the Los Angeles Lakers might be ahead of the pack:

As Dwight Howard leaves Los Angeles, the Lakers and free-agent center Chris Kaman have a growing mutual interest, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Several other teams have expressed interest in Kaman, including Golden State, Atlanta, Sacramento and New York, sources said.

Kaman isn't going to replace Howard, but you could do a lot worse. 

The 31-year-old only chipped in 20.7 minutes per contest for the Dallas Mavericks last year, but on a per-36 minute basis, he averaged 18.3 points (second-highest of his career), 9.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. He shot 50.7 percent from the field and 78.8 percent from the line. 

A big man who can knock down the majority of his free throws. Yes, Lakers fans, they exist. 

Simply put, Kaman is just a solid basketball player. He works hard, plays defense, cleans up the glass and has a very nice offensive skill set for a seven-footer. 

Depending on the monetary value, this could potentially serve as a terrific under-the-radar signing.