May 3, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Omer Asik (3) reacts after a play during the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder in game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Rockets center Omer Asik’s name had been circulating in trade talks in July after the signing of Dwight Howard became official. Asik first expressed his dismay with the situation and demanded a trade to a team where he would be a starting center. Asik was a starter for the first time in his career last season, and produced at a very high level for the Rockets, averaging 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds, while starting all 82 games, as well as all 6 playoff games.
The Rockets are packed at the center position, with 5 players who can man the middle heading into training camp. Howard and Asik will be joined by Greg Smith, who showed some promising signs last season, veteran Marcus Camby, and rookie free agent Jordan Henriquez.
While the plan is to experiment with Howard and Asik playing together in training camp, Asik is the most trade-able asset for the Rockets, and should a major player be available for the Rockets to acquire before the season starts, Asik’s wishes may very well be granted.
Ideally, the Rockets are hoping for a power forward who can knock down 3’s and space the floor to be available(There were talks about possibly going after Pelicans’ forward Ryan Anderson but that has died down) as Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas are slated to battle for the starting spot in training camp.
It’s also a possibility that general manager Daryl Morey would not hesitate to pull a trade even days before the regular season starts, like he did last year in acquiring James Harden.
Asik has 2 more years left on his contract and is scheduled to make over $5 million for the upcoming season, and close to $15 million in 2014-2015. But that does not impact the Rockets’ salary cap as much as people think: the Rockets have evened out Asik’s 3-year, $25 million contract that he signed in 2012 evenly over the 3 years to where $8.3 million would be the cap hit number in each year.