Omer Asik finally got what he wanted.
It’s been reported that the Houston Rockets will finally trade Asik after weekly trade requests from his camp. In the last eleven games, Asik has seen himself go from starter’s minutes to DNP’s. Coach Kevin McHale tried to start both Dwight Howard and Asik together, who gelled well on the defensive end, but Asik couldn’t find his offensive role.
Asik’s effort was then questioned by his teammates as well as his approach to the game. It was easy to tell he was unwilling to come off the bench and his last DNP explanation said “ill.”
There won’t be any shortage of suitors for Asik and there’s already a handful of teams interested. Washington tried to steal him earlier this season, recently settling for Marcin Gortat, but there are still plenty of teams with cap space who need a big man.
This one’s an obvious one. Anthony Davis is a power forward who has to play against bigger centers night-in and night-out because his front court partner is Ryan Anderson, a stretch four. Anderson is shooting 60 percent from the three point line this season and averages 42.7 percent over his career. Imagine him playing with Dwight Howard, who will have more room in the paint to operate with Anderson on the three point line, instead of Asik clogging the lane. An Asik for Anderson swap, and their salaries make it work, would be beneficial for both teams. Davis gets to play in his natural position, Asik gets to start on an up-and-coming team, and an Anderson-Howard duo would give any defense hell.
Similar to Anthony Davis, Al Horford has been playing out of position since he’s been drafted. Playing next to Asik will give Horford a break on defense and allow him to focus on dominating a smaller power forward. An Asik for Paul Millsap trade gives the Hawks the center they need and the Rockets an athletic power forward to play alongside Howard. Millsap was signed by the Hawks over the summer and can’t be traded until December 15, but the Rockets will probably wait until then anyway to have the option of trading for players signed over the offseason.
This one’s a stretch. With the emergence of big teams in the Western Conference like Houston, Minnesota and Portland, the Oklahoma City Thunder need to get bigger too. They have no trade assets to acquire Asik except their picks in this loaded upcoming draft. If they offer a good enough package maybe they can dump Kendrick Perkins’ albatross contract, but a Perkins-Howard front line could be even worse than the Asik-Howard one turned out to be.
Unless a surprisingly good offer is made, expect the Rockets to wait until December 15th to trade Asik so they have the most options. Will Asik play in anymore games until then? Or even show up? It’s doubtful that he does and it could potentially hurt his trade value, but Houston has finally made one thing sure: Asik will be traded.