Houston Rockets center Omer Asik has been in a whirlwind of trade rumors since he lost his starting job in Houston. He was initially unhappy the day the Rockets signed star center Dwight Howard. The first few games, head coach Kevin McHale started both Howard and Asik together. Obviously it was not working and McHale opted to start Forward Terrence Jones instead, who has been far less than impressive. The Boston Celtics are in need of size and may have the chips to obtain Omer Asik.
The Rockets lack a forward that can complement Howard. The Celtics happen to have a plethora of power forwards on their roster. In fact, this team has way too many power forwards and no true center. Brandon Bass, Kris Humphries, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk make up the depth chart for the position. Their only center, Vitor Faverani, has shown flashes but is not a quality option at the position. The Rockets could also use an upgrade at backup shooting guard. Boston has plenty of those as well — Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Jordan Crawford, MarShon Brooks and Keith Bogans.
The Celtics should avoid including their young building pieces Sullinger, Olynyk and Bradley if a trade for Asik becomes available. Without those three players included, there are several combinations that can work.
If you are a true Celtics fan, you will hate to see a guy like Bass go, but he deserves to be on a team that can compete for a title. The Celtics would potentially obtain a young center and the Rockets would acquire a scoring big man that can supplement Howard’s style of play.
Brooks has had depleted minutes this season. However, he has undeniable skill that the Rockets would like to have on their team. He’s young, he has the ability to create his own shot, and he is not a commitment because his contract ends after this year. If he is not enough for Houston, the Celtics could offer Lee to his former team or Crawford. Trading Lee would rid the Celtics of his salary for the next three years.
The most notable benefit for the Rockets in this scenario is that the combination of Bass and Howard was effective in Orlando. Therefore, it won’t be an unknown commodity. Bass, plus any of those three shooting guards for Asik is a trade both the Celtics and Rockets should consider.
If the Rockets are still not impressed by any of these trades, the Celtics could throw in one of their many future draft picks to accommodate.
Why a trade for Asik Makes Sense
The Celtics have not had a true center on their roster since Danny Ainge traded Kendrick Perkins in 2011. Since the Celtics are in a rebuilding phase, attaining a young center would be extremely beneficial. Asik essentially brings rebounding and size to a young Celtic team that desperately needs it. He stands at 7-feet and as a starter, Asik averaged a double-double — 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game.
He’s also effective in the pick and roll. Asik would take away pressure from Sullinger and Olynyk, which would allow them to roam more freely. The Rockets gain value by obtaining a solid option in Bass, who is also playoff tested and can contribute to a competitive team.
Why It Doesn’t Make Sense
The element that Asik is unhappy about taking on a lesser role with the Rockets is a bad indication of his attitude. That alone is something that the Celtics need to be cautious of with such a young roster. Asik is also not very physical defensively. He’s a bruiser when it comes to rebounding, but he lacks strength when it comes to defense. The Celtics try to pride themselves on defense and Asik may take that identity away.
Ultimately, the Celtics would be smart to pull off a trade for Asik. Established centers are extremely difficult to come by in the NBA. They are costly and acquiring a young big man through the draft has become too risky. His hustle and rebounding outweighs his physical and defensive downfalls. Asik is a solid long term solution to the Celtics’ big man problem. The Celtics should make a serious push for him.