Omer Asik has filled in nicely in his new role as backup center to Dwight Howard since returning to the Houston Rockets last week, but Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News reported over the weekend that the Rockets have talked to the Portland Trail Blazers about a possible deal with Asik.
“The Trail Blazers are off to one of their best starts in years, but they’re not kidding themselves. They know they’ve taken advantage of a pillow-soft schedule and have surprised themselves with their shooting (45%). So they’re quietly looking to improve, talking to the Rockets about trading for Omer Asik. They can send back Robin Lopez in a deal, but don’t have the “stretch four’’ the Houston is looking for as it searches for a home for its disgruntled backup center. The Rockets want a power forward who can shoot threes to pair next to Dwight Howard. That led them, predictably, to the Pelicans, home of Ryan Anderson. But the Pelicans refused to part with Anderson, even though putting Asik in the middle and moving Anthony Davis to power forward makes a lot of sense.”
Asik reportedly has asked to be traded twice in the last 4 months; the first time when Dwight Howard signed with the Rockets, and then again two weeks ago when he was removed from the starting lineup.
Robin Lopez is averaging 8.2 points and 8 rebounds so far this season, and has averaged over 7 points and 4 rebounds throughout his 6-year career. But like Lawrence said, the Rockets hope to get a stretch-4 in return, which leads to the Ryan Anderson rumors, something that had been circulating around the internet since the summer.
As nice of a fit as Anderson would seem, and as well as he used to play alongside Howard when both were with the Orlando Magic, it just wouldn’t be the best deal for the Rockets. ESPN’s Marc Stein explained why:
“There are at least three other factors working against the prospect of an Anderson reunion with Dwight Howard in Clutch City:
1. The Pelicans love how Anderson fits into their core and are said to believe his ability to space the floor does as much for Anthony Davis as a bruising center like Asik would.
2. The Pelicans love the production Anderson gives them, and the very reasonable contract he possesses in relation to that production. Asik’s offensive limitations will be even harder to stomach next season when that balloon payment valued at nearly $15 million kicks in.
3. Anderson is under contract to the Pelicans for two more seasons after this one on those favorable terms: $34 million over four years. Asik can become a free agent in the summer of 2015, and likewise can’t be extended by the team that acquires him this season because he has fewer than three seasons left on his current contract.”
The Rockets will still most likely wait until after Dec. 15 to be more aggressive in the trade market for Asik, as free agents signed in the offseason will be cleared to be traded.