Houston Rockets Reportedly 'Certain' to Trade Disgruntled Center Omer Asik

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2013

USA Today

Even with Dwight Howard's massive body obscuring our vision, we saw this coming.

Omer Asik will inevitably be traded from the Houston Rockets, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. Following his removal from Houston's starting lineup, it's no longer a matter of if, only when.

Over the summer, Asik asked for a trade after the Rockets signed Howard, but his request was denied. Head coach Kevin McHale was determined to make a Howard-Asik pairing work, thereby eliminating any possibility of a deal.

Less than 10 games into the season, McHale ditched a bigger starting lineup and moved Asik to the bench, at which point the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen reported that the big man reiterated his desire to be moved. At first, ESPN's Brian Windhorst wrote that the Rockets had no plans to grant Asik a trade.

Now, however, it appears they're ready to deal.

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski says Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has already started shopping Asik around the league:

In an effort to unload disgruntled center Omer Asik, the Houston Rockets have engaged in trade talks with multiple teams and are demanding an impact player in return, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Rival executives say that Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has been active in discussing possible deals for Asik, but his asking price has been too high so far. Morey has been willing to accommodate Asik's summertime trade request, but has found little traction on possible deals.

Morey is reportedly seeking an impact player or a "largely unprotected first-round pick" in exchange for Asik. No team has met Houston's asking price and Woj says a deal is more likely to be struck after Dec. 15, when free agents who were signed over the offseason are eligible to be traded.

Previously, the Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans discussed a potential Ryan Anderson-Asik swap, which is a deal Woj says could be revisited. However, if that doesn't work out, the Rockets will try to work with another team. 

Moving Asik was inevitable. Attaching him to Howard was never going to work, since neither he nor Superman is prone to scoring outside of nine feet. To this point, it's been a floor-spacing nightmare.

Asik's attitude has also been poor, according to Stein. Teammates and coaches have called on him to become more "engaged," his ego likely bruised by McHale's decision to demote him.

The Rockets have hit an inevitable crossroads and must now trade Omer Asik.
The Rockets have hit an inevitable crossroads and must now trade Omer Asik.Bill Baptist/Getty Images

Though Asik is considered a starting-caliber player in the NBA, his unrest remains ridiculous. He was an everyday starter for just one season, and while he averaged a double-double, he never proved he can anchor a strong defensive attack the way an elite big man like Howard has.

Still with plenty to prove, and knowing that the Rockets have no choice but to move him, I'd be shocked if they net the type of package they're looking for. Morey will have to deal him of course, but the Rockets may wind up settling.

Raw seven-footers are intriguing acquisitions, but are they worth giving up a player like Anderson? Or even a lottery pick in this loaded 2014 draft?

The market will decide what Asik is worth, as his days in Houston are numbered. They have been since Howard arrived.