As soon as Dwight Howard picked the Rockets over the Lakers, many thought Houston would be looking to unload their center, Omer Asik. The Rockets inked Asik to a 3-year, $25 million deal in the summer of 2012, and he put up impressive numbers: 10.1 ppg, 11.7 rpg. He finished in the top 11 in the NBA in rebounding (3rd), offensive rebounds (11th), and field goal percentage (11th). Asik will only make $5 million next season, but Houston is on the hook for $14.8 million in the summer of 2014 (same number they’ll owe Jeremy Lin).
Naturally, the signing of Howard means Asik will either have to shift to power forward (Twin Towers all over again? Dwight obviously would be the Dream) or become the backup center. According to ESPN, Asik wants to be traded. Also, according to ESPN, Houston has no plans on trading Asik.
Why would they? To get a “stretch 4″ to play with Howard, like his days in Orlando? Disagree. Howard’s had back issues for the last two seasons. What guarantees are there that he’ll be 100% next season? And if the Rockets have to play Memphis in the postseason, how much trouble would they have with Gasol/Randolph? As rugged as the West is – seeds 1-6 could be separated by maybe five games – you could be looking at a 105+ game season to win the title.
In addition, the Rockets might have a very difficult time unloading Asik because of that $14.8 million salary next season.
[UPDATE: Trading Asik to another team would mean said team only takes an $8.3 million cap hit, not the full $14 mil.]
He’ll probably want to return to Chicago, but how would the great Daryl Morey pull that one off? I saw various reports on the always-reliable twitter that claimed the Pelicans weren’t going to part with trigger-happy power forward Ryan Anderson.
I’d ride with Asik.
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