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Is it the end of the line for Omer Asik in Houston?
When the Rockets signed free-agent center Dwight Howard over the summer, Omer Asik immediately expressed his discontent and requested to be traded. Asik performed well in his lone season in Houston as the starter, and does not want to go back to his days on the bench like he did with the Chicago Bulls.
Asik is understandably upset. He had a career year last season with the Rockets, averaging 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds a night. However, you can't blame general manager Daryl Morey for going out and getting Dwight Howard, a legitimate superstar.
Coach Kevin McHale experimented with starting both big men together for the team's first several games, but it was an utter disaster. The offense looked stagnant, and the defense relinquished wide open three-pointers in bunches.
It was a good try, but it had to come to an abrupt end.
Once Asik was pulled from the starting lineup, he formally submitted his second trade request. Since he was benched, Asik missed a few games with an illness and has barely played in the games in which he dressed.
GM Morey originally denied Asik's request for the second time in a row, but rumor has it that Houston has been shopping Asik around the league for a very high asking price.
All signs point to Asik's departure in the coming months before the February trade deadline. Asik could be shipped off as soon as this week, but Morey won't pull the trigger until he gets what he wants: an immediate impact player or a protected draft pick in the upcoming 2014 draft with a stacked class of recruits.
Houston is still looking for a power forward to fill out the starting lineup and play alongside Dwight. Terrence Jones has stepped in that role so far and has done a formidable job. You also have to worry about Dwight getting hurt after Asik leaves. Who would play center?
Follow this story closely because the Asik dilemma is bound to be resolved once and for all sooner rather than later.