Omer Asik can change agents all he wants, but it's more than his representation keeping him from being traded thus far. The Houston Rockets want to move him, and Asik asked to be traded when the team signed Dwight Howard. Duh. We all know that by now.
It is being reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.com that it is a matter of when, not if, Asik gets moved. So what is keeping Houston and Team X from pulling the trigger?
For starters, Houston is asking for a lot—a high draft pick or a player. In a loaded NBA draft class, tankalicious teams don't want to trade away a pick that could become a franchise player. You know something else about tankalicious teams? They don't want to get better. Yet another reason for them to say, "Nah, I'm good" when Rockets general manager Daryl Morey gives them a ring.
Then there is the contract Asik's former agent Andy Miller negotiated for him before the center switched to Arn Tellem this week. Asik signed a three-year, $25 million offer sheet before last season. His cap hit for next season will be a little more than $8.3 million, per ShamSports.com's salary index. However, according to CBS Sports' Ken Berger, the actual payout of the deal next season is $15 million. That's just another reason for general managers say no.
What isn't an issue is whether Asik can play. The 27-year-old 7-footer averaged 10 and 12 in his lone season as a starter and is an excellent defender. But Morey is asking for too much, and Asik's Howard-like whining isn't helping.
I imagine Morey starts every day with this phone call:
Morey: "Hey, it's D-Money."
Other GM: "Yeah..."
Morey: "I'm trying to mo-"
Other GM: "I know. Asik. I don't want him."
Morey: "Why not?"
Other GM: "Well, I would listen, but I'm not giving you my first-round pick."
Morey: "Why not?"
So how about a contender? The idea of Portland giving up Robin Lopez and other assets to improve its defense with Asik has been floated around. However, I don't think the different between Lopez and Asik is great enough to warrant giving up a young player, such as Thomas Robinson, or a draft pick. You can cross off New Orleans and Ryan Anderson too, since Anthony Davis has played so well at center. They won't pull the trigger simply because Davis fractured his hand.
What to watch for is an Eastern Conference team staring down a chance to make the playoffs in a down year. The better-than-expected Philadelphia 76ers make sense with former Rockets executive Sam Hinkie running the show. Maybe Boston or Atlanta decide they can use Asik's defense.
However, we just don't know. Stein says the Rockets want to move him by Dec. 19. So we wait. And so will Asik until Morey starts asking for a little bit less.