Updates from Wednesday, June 25
While nothing is official yet, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Omer Asik will be traded to the New Orleans Pelicans:
Houston is finalizing a deal to send Omer Asik to New Orleans, league source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
USA Today's Sam Amick has more details:
Rockets will get New Orleans' first rounder for next season in exchange for Omer Asik, I'm told.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 26, 2014
Rockets will also send cash to New Orleans in the deal. Houston clears cap room for free agency season. Jeremy Lin up next likely.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 26, 2014
ESPN's Brian Windhorst provides one final detail of the trade:
Rockets will also send New Orleans $1.5 million cash as part of the deal.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) June 26, 2014
Wojnarowski added more context as to why the Rockets would make this deal:
For the Rockets, this is Step 1 in clearing the cap space to chase LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony in free agency.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 26, 2014
Bleacher Report's Howard Beck reports on one important factor in the deal:
Should have noted: Asik-to-Pelicans can't become official until July 10, because of cap considerations.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) June 26, 2014
Before digging into any rumors regarding the productive but expensive big man, it is worthwhile to point out that the main reason the Rockets are potentially looking to trade the 7’0" rim protector. His base salary on the final year of his three-year deal with Houston jumps from $5,225,000 to $14,898,938, per Spotrac.com.
To make matters worse, Asik and Jeremy Lin have cap hits of $8.34 million to go along with that poison-pill contract of actual salary.
The latest rumor surrounding Asik caused quite a stir across the NBA because it included the magical buzzword names of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Sam Amick of USA Today filled fans in:
Addendum on Rox free agency front:I'm told they have moves teed up for necessary Asik/Lin trades but want to keep them if can't get LBJ/Melo— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 20, 2014
In a perfect world, this would be a reality for Houston. However, it tried to trade Asik twice during the regular season and failed both times, so it’s hard to see the Rockets having these deals in place that they can do whatever they want with the big man. Of course, this being the offseason and with so much talent in play, a little posturing or misinformation wouldn’t be the worst plan in the world from Houston's perspective.
Interestingly enough, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey suggested that Asik would be in Houston until the end of his contract when the team failed to move him earlier, according to Ben DuBose of ClutchFans.net, via Brett Pollakoff of ProBasketballTalk:
We pushed to trade Omer in December. We felt we had to make a fair and aggressive effort to do that. Obviously, he’d prefer to be a starter.
At this point, Omer is very likely going to be here until the end of his contract at the end of next season, not this season. The window to trade him was [in December], and teams weren’t aggressive enough to get him, so we’re excited about him being a part of our future.
That may not be the case anymore.
Given the latest rumors, Chuck Myron of HoopsRumors.com falls into the bluff crowd:
Well, they reportedly already have deals lined up for both of them, but I sense a bluff on the part of Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who would no doubt like to convince the Knicks and Heat that they need to participate in sign-and-trades for 'Melo and LeBron, respectively. The thinking would be if the Rockets are all ready to clear those contracts and have room to sign 'Melo and LeBron outright, New York and Miami had better cooperate in a S-&-T or they'll be left with nothing. But my money is on Lin, at least, remaining in Houston for next season. Asik—and this is just a guess—ends up in Boston next season.
The Boston angle is certainly an interesting wrinkle. The Celtics could use a rim protector, and Asik would come off the books in 2015, which would give Boston some flexibility in what could be another deep free-agent class, depending on how this offseason unfolds.
Which player would you rather have?
If nothing else, it would improve the interior defense. Jared Sullinger is one of Boston’s younger assets, but he’s not exactly a shot-blocker extraordinaire down low. Landing someone like Asik would not only help on the boards and on defense, but it would also open up the floor for someone like Sullinger on the opposite block or from mid-range when opposing centers are locked in on Asik.
On his career, Asik has posted nightly averages of 5.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 0.9 blocks, but he peaked in 2012-13 for Houston when he scored 10.1 points and grabbed 11.7 rebounds a game.
Given his potential double-double status, there is certainly some value to be had with Asik. If nothing else, he provides some serious depth in the frontcourt for a talented squad (think Miami would have liked to have Asik in the NBA Finals instead of a far-from-healthy Chris Andersen?) and will only be 28 this summer.
Theoretically, he is just hitting the prime of his career, and he doesn’t have a lot of wear and tear on his legs because he has averaged less than 20 minutes a game in his four seasons in the NBA.
Still, with that price tag in the 2014-15 season, whichever team lands Asik would love to see the double-double version we did before Dwight Howard was patrolling the middle in Houston.
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