Once Dwight Howard took his talents to Houston, then starting center Omer Asik made it known he wanted to take his own talents somewhere else. Not even an hour or so after Dwight’s “decision,” Asik demanded a trade from the Houston Rockets. Omer Asik’s wish for a trade was quickly swatted down by Rockets management. If there wasn’t enough drama already in Houston with the arrival of Dwight Howard, Omer Asik is adding to it. If only the NBA had Hard Knocks like the NFL does, the Rockets might be a perfect fit.
Head Coach Kevin McHale said he will try to “mend fences” with Asik, also adding in “With Omer, he had a great year for us last year, and really became one of the top centers in the league. It’s just when you have an opportunity to get Dwight, it’s hard not to. I’m sure Omer right now is a little down in the dumps, but we’ll pick him up.” At first, I thought this was a good move by McHale and the Rockets to try to calm Asik down, and keep him on the club.
A week or so after the addition of Dwight, I’ve had an opportunity to have a different perspective on things. A chance to take a deep breath after all the craziness NBA free agency has been thus far. After doing so, the choice is very clear, you must grant Asik’s wish.
First of all, the last thing a championship-caliber team needs is a guy whining about his lack of playing time.
Secondly, it will improve a weakness the Rockets appear to have: floor spacing.
After watching the NBA Playoffs, specifically the NBA Finals, we all saw how important 3 point shooting is. Taking a look at the Rockets roster as of right now, it’s something that can be improved upon. Houston recently agreed to terms with shooters Omri Casspi and Reggie Williams; that’s a nice start, but Houston shouldn’t stop there.
A rumored destination for Omer Asik is the New Orleans … Pelicans … yep, the New Orleans Pelicans. I guess they were being serious when they announced the name change from the Hornets.
In a potential trade for Asik, it is rumored that the deal will be centered on forward Ryan Anderson. Now, Anderson will be a valuable acquisition for the Rockets, but I would obviously want more in return. A few draft picks sound nice, but in reality, they aren’t. Unless you’re getting a draft pick from the Orlando Magic, it’s not worth your time. No offense to the Magic, but lets be real, they don’t exactly have the best roster.
In addition to getting Ryan Anderson, I would want a veteran in return, whatever the position might be, and a big. Meanwhile, after looking at the Pelicans roster, they are a young team. In fact, the oldest player on their team is Roger Mason Jr., who is at 32 years of age. So forget the veteran part of the deal, lets focus on acquiring a big. A few names that jumped out to me were Jason Smith, Lou Amundson and rookie Jeff Withey. You might be able to get two of these guys, but lets say you can only have one. Jeff Withey definitely has talent, but the Rockets should want someone who has proven themselves in the NBA. Leaving it to Jason Smith and Lou Amundson.
Lou Amundson, as you might remember, is a former Indiana Pacer, Lou was a key part of the Indiana Pacers bench in the 2011-2012 NBA playoffs. Jason Smith is arguably the better player, but Amundson comes at a much cheaper price. Smith’s salary is 2.5 million, while Amundson makes about 200 thousand.
Now you have Anderson and Lou Amundson in the deal, but I wouldn’t stop there. Adding another guard or forward to the bench couldn’t hurt. Darius Miller and Roger Mason Jr. are potential candidates, or you could go the draft-pick route.
Houston should be able to get both Mason Jr. and the second-round pick or whatever it might be. Asik is a rising center who definitely showed he is emerging as one of the better centers in the league. There will probably be better deals that come up in the future. As of right now though, that’s the only potential deal that’s been reported.
The last thing the Rockets need is drama; if Asik is unhappy, get him out. Playing Dwight and Asik at the same time will not work; playing two 7-foot centers at one time won’t have good results. Trade him; get something in return to make your team better. Let Dwight be the man down low like he was in Orlando, and not constantly seeing Omer Asik in his rear-view mirror.