Thanksgiving is over, which usually means a steep discount for anything related to "turkey." But the Houston Rockets apparently haven't gotten the message when it comes to dealing their disgruntled center—and proud son of Turkey—Omer Asik.
All puns aside, CBS Sports writer Ken Berger put Asik on the top of his list of 10 possible trade candidates, but he sounds pessimistic that the Rockets will find a trade partner anytime soon:
[Asik] has been unhappy with his role since the Rockets landed Dwight Howard, and the situation isn't going to get any better. After playing four minutes at Philadelphia on Nov. 13 and riding the bench against the Knicks on Nov. 14, Asik finally logged 20-plus minutes in back-to-back games this week for the first time since early November. The limiting factor, of course, is that while Asik counts only $8.4 million against the cap/tax, his actual salary next season is $15 million. Given those constraints and Asik's sad-sack demeanor, one rival GM described the Rockets as "delusional" as far as their asking price for him.
While Asik's salary is a real concern, the idea that his "sad-sack demeanor" is hurting his trade value is debatable. After all, the guy who replaced Asik at center for the Rockets this offseason has thrown some pretty memorable temper tantrums in the past to force his way off teams, and that didn't stop Houston from offering him a hefty salary.
So, yes, Asik has been pouting. A lot. But he's still a quality defensive center, and those are a rare commodity in this league.
Perhaps the reason the Rockets are asking too much for Asik is that they can afford to hold on to him. The Rockets tried featuring Asik early in the season, starting him alongside Dwight Howard for their first eight games, but they've been a much better team since replacing Asik with Terrence Jones.
|Houston Rockets: Starting Asik vs. Starting Jones|
While the Rockets were defending a bit better while featuring Asik, they weren't nearly as good on offense. With Terrence Jones, the Rockets' starting lineup is much more potent offensively, averaging nearly 10 more points per 100 possessions.
Houston general manager Daryl Morey is a smart man. He knows enough to hold on to a Asik and wait for the perfect moment—a key injury or a desperate front office—to extract maximum value from his trading partner.
Look for Morey's trade demands to stay "delusional" for the foreseeable future.