Omer Asik-Thaddeus Young Trade Would Be Win-Win for Rockets, Sixers

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistDecember 21, 2013

Dec 19, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Philadelphia 76ers small forward Thaddeus Young (21) posts up on Houston Rockets center Omer Asik (3) during the first quarter at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Omer Asik wants to leave the Houston Rockets. Thaddeus Young wants to leave the Philadelphia 76ers

Perfect, right? 

Well, that's assuming that everything written in the first paragraph is true.

It seems to be fairly common knowledge that Asik isn't happy in his current spot behind Dwight Howard on the depth chart, but after whisperings that Young had requested a trade away from the Sixers, per's Jake Fischer, he denied those rumors.

As reported by CSN Philly's Dei Lynam, the forward said, "I just think it is funny that it is 'sources' that say I asked to be traded. I am here, ready to give 110 percent each and every game. I am ready to just play and try to win basketball games."

There has to be a reason that this trade hasn't happened yet, and that could very well be it. Either that or the Rockets looking for way to much in return for the services of the Turkish 7-footer. Despite rumors that these franchises were talking to one another, nobody was able to pull the trigger. 

It's a shame, since a deal would be a win-win scenario for both teams. 


For the Sixers

Nov 23, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Omer Asik (3) during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

If Young isn't going to be part of the long-term plans in The City of Brotherly Love, it makes sense to acquire something for his services. After all, this season is all about tanking, and he's been a valuable piece that has helped the team stay at least somewhat afloat during the early portion of the 2013-14 campaign. 

Asik would essentially do the same thing for Philadelphia, albeit at a different position. So why acquire him? 

Well, there's actually value to having the Turkish big man on the roster, value that goes beyond staying respectable during a tankapalooza of a season. While Young reportedly wants out, according to Fischer, and would have to be dealt before he got too disgruntled, Asik would be able to start games and remain happy. 

Additionally, his contract is more valuable to the Sixers, even though Young's is cheaper thanks to the poison pill that kicks in for Asik during the 2014-15 season. 

Young is under contract, per, through the 2015-16 season, assuming that he declines to use his early termination option before the final year of the deal. He's on the books for $9.4 and $10 million over the next two seasons.  

Asik's situation is a little more complicated, but he'll still be off the books prior to 2015-16. Trading for him involves accepting the poison pill next season, but that's it. And it's not like the Sixers have to be particularly worried about their finances. 

With Young's contract accounted for, Philly is on the books for $28,567,713 next season thanks to a boatload of non-guaranteed contracts. It seems likely that general manager Sam Hinkie—who has connections to Asik thanks to his time with the Rockets—will be parting ways with guys like Evan Turner, all with the intention of completely turning things over to the young guys.

That means both the keepers on the current roster and the ones acquired in the 2014 NBA draft. 

Asik isn't going to mess that up. That's the first key to this section, and the second is his ability to serve as a mentor. 

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 7: Nerlens Noel #4 of the Philadelphia 76ers practices as head coach Brett Brown looks on as the team prepares for their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of the NBA Global Games on October 7, 2013 at the Phones
Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

It's hard to remember since he hasn't played a game after being drafted, but there's this guy named Nerlens Noel on the roster. While rehabbing his torn ACL, he's been completely overshadowed by the sensation that is Michael Carter-Williams, who has captivated fans to the extent that he now has the 15th-best-selling jersey in the Association

Noel is an extremely high-potential big, but he has a lot of developing to do. The flat-topped big man must show more discipline than he did at Kentucky, and he has to learn the rotations as he attempts to adjust to the speed of the NBA game. 

Spencer Hawes isn't going to teach him how to do that, but Asik could. 

It usually takes a little while for raw bigs to make the transition from collegiate basketball to the sport's highest level, and that will be doubly true for Noel as he recovers from the ACL injury. Having Asik ahead of him in the rotation during the 2014-15 season will be helpful, and it doesn't prevent the team from handing him the reins in 2015-16. 

Unless Philadelphia does have to part with a first-round pick, it's worth acquiring Asik as a frontcourt stopgap who can help make a future cornerstone better. 


For the Rockets

Dec 3, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Thaddeus Young (21) brings the ball up court during the first quarter against the Orlando Magic at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It's much simpler for Houston. 

Asik doesn't make the Rockets better, at least not while he's unhappy, missing lengthy stretches of the season due to injury and playing limited time when he's healthy.

Young would. 

Even though Terrence Jones has been playing remarkably well since moving into the starting lineup, the Rockets could still use another established power forward. Better yet, Young has the versatility to move over to small forward whenever Chandler Parsons needs time on the bench to maintain both his energy and his model looks

Thus far, the former Georgia Tech standout has averaged 15.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.5 blocks per game for the Sixers, and he's shooting 48.7 percent from the field in the process. But it's the development of a three-point stroke that makes him a much more viable fit for the Houston system. 

Young is shooting 34.9 percent from beyond the arc, and he's taking 1.9 attempts per game. It's the best he's ever shot from downtown, and it appears likely to be sustained throughout the season since he's firing away with such confidence and—for the first time in his career—a consistent stroke. 

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 14: Thaddeus Young #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers gets direction against the Portland Trailblazers at the Wells Fargo Center on December 14, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agree
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Remember, the Rockets live and die by the three-ball. 

According to Basketball-Reference, no team has attempted as many triples as Houston, and it's not even that close. Going into their Dec. 20 contest against the Indiana Pacers, they'd taken 34 more than the Portland Trail Blazers, the No. 2 team in the league, despite playing one fewer game.

B/R's Zach Buckley referred to Young as the seventh-best trade target in the NBA—among players who are actually on the block—and it's due to the combination of his physicality and skill. "It's tough to label Young as a 'grinder. He's simply too skilled for that. Yet that's exactly how he approaches the hardwood, never taking possessions off and competing at both ends of the floor."

That desire to play hard also helps Young fit in with a Philadelphia team that runs...a lot's SportVU data shows that only 34 players are running more miles per game than Young, who checks in at 2.4. That's par for the course with Philly, as Brett Brown's systems require a lot of movement on both ends of the court. 

Guess what. Houston's do too. 

There's a reason that Chandler Parsons is right up there with the league leaders (No. 5), and three other members of the team are also in the top 100 (Patrick Beverley, James Harden and Dwight Howard). And if Young joined the roster, that would make five. He wouldn't have to adjust to a movement-heavy system, although picking up the nuances would still take time. 

Can you imagine the damage that a Beverley/Harden/Parsons/Young/Howard lineup could do with Jeremy Lin and Jones coming off the bench? That would be even more competitive than the current version of the Rockets, and that isn't easy. 

Houston may have taken Asik off the block, but that should change if Young truly becomes available. 

The deal makes sense for Philadelphia (again, assuming that it doesn't have to part ways with a first-round pick), and it's even better for the Western Conference contenders. 


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