After being away from the team for a couple of days, Omer Asik returned to practice Monday, but didn’t speak to the media until Tuesday morning’s shootaround. It was reported that Asik asked to be traded last week, a day after being moved from the starting lineup, and sat on the bench for the entire game against the New York Knicks last Thursday. Asik addressed his situation, as well as his demands of wanting to be dealt:
“I do not talk about that. I never talk about that. My focus is just winning tonight’s game (against the Celtics) and helping my team as much as I can. The thing is, I was just frustrated. It’s behind me now. I’m just looking forward to help my team to win. I really don’t want to talk about any specific things. It’s behind me now. That’s all I can say.”
Asik also personally apologized to his teammates on Monday for the way he reacted, but would not say how that meeting went:
“I’m not going to talk about what’s happened. It’s between me and everybody. I’m just be professional and do my job. I’m not here just for two months. I’ve been here for more than two years now. I’m just being now good, ready for tonight’s game. I just want to be on the court, playing. I’m not going to be anything else.”
Coach Kevin McHale made to decision to go away from starting both Asik and Dwight Howard together, which resulted in Asik playing just 4 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers last Wednesday. In 9 games this season, Asik is averaging 5 points and about 7 rebounds per game in 20 minutes, all significant drop-offs from last season.