Omer Asik, the center Houston tried to trade last year, but couldn’t, is finally gone. The Rockets shipped him to New Orleans for a protected draft pick and cash. We’ll get to how this is a nice move for the Pelicans shortly, but first, Houston:
The Rockets are coming.
As soon as they move Jeremy Lin, they’ll be in position to add a third big contract. Will it be Carmelo Anthony? LeBron James? I actually think Melo would be a better fit in Houston than LeBron. Of course, this puts three ball-stoppers in Houston – Howard, Harden and Melo – but also when you run that offense through Howard, you can forget double-teamming because Harden and Melo and Parsons will make it rain.
There is, of course, another option, one I laughed at Wednesday: the Melo-for-Harden swap. Bill Simmons seems to think it would include Lin, but New York just got Calderon, so what’s that about? I’m not sure why the Rockets – or anyone – would value Melo over Harden. Both are Melo is a better 3-point shooter, both are equally fine scorers, below average defensively, but the difference is Harden turns 25 in August; Melo just turned 30 in May. Is the move to do SG-by-committe and focus on defense in the backcourt?
What we’ve learned in the past regarding Houston and Daryl Morey – definitely don’t underestimate him. He stole James Harden out of OKC. Then he pulled all the right levers to win the heart of Dwight Howard. It’s shaping up as a fun week in Houston.
New Orleans, which missed the playoffs last season and gave Philly its 2014 1st lottery pick in the Jrue Holiday trade, has a bruiser to go inside with burgeoning star Anthony Davis. In only his second year in the NBA, at age 20, Davis averaged 20.8 ppg, 10 rpg and a league-leading 2.8 blocks per game. He’s still growing into his body. Adding Asik means less dirty work for Davis, less banging with centers, and more offense. With a healthy Holiday and a healthy Anderson, the Pelicans certainly have the pieces in place to make a run at a playoff spot next season.