The New York Knicks should shed as much money off their salary as they possibly can now that their season is all but over, but they won’t. They are more likely to add to it in an effort to make the playoffs and lure Carmelo Anthony into signing a contract extension. With that in mind, the Knicks should go after disgruntled Houston Rockets big man Omer Asik.
Asik’s “poison-pill” contract through the 2014-15 would fall in line with the majority of other bad Knicks contracts that expire after next season, so this could make sense for both teams. Asik is making a modest $5,225,000 this season, but next year it bumps up to $14,898,938 — however only $8,374,646 would count towards the salary cap. The Knicks would be doing the Rockets a favor by taking on Asik’s deal, especially considering point guard Jeremy Lin has the same exact deal in place. The Knicks are already above the salary cap for next season, even if Anthony opts out of his final year. So if nothing else, Asik would be just another expiring contract for the Knicks to dangle in the trade market next season.
Who would the Knicks send out to make a deal work, both contractually speaking and from a basketball point of view? The Knicks have a logjam at the guard position, and the Rockets’ best shooting guard option off the bench is Francisco Garcia, who is shooting 38.8 percent from the field this season, is averaging 7.1 points per game and has a 9.6 Player Efficiency Rating. The Rockets are 17th in the NBA in bench scoring and have a solid play style that likely wouldn’t be disrupted by any incoming player. This is why J.R. Smith would actually be a good fit in Houston.
To make the salaries match up, the Knicks would send out center Cole Aldrich and either point guard Toure’ Murry or Beno Udrih. If the Rockets aren’t up for taking on Smith, the Knicks could try to send Andrea Bargnani instead. He would be a much better big man to put next to Dwight Howard than Asik due to his ability to hit the three-point shot. This would also help their bench scoring problems.
The Knicks need new blood, and they need to get rid of one of these two players who are just bad fits on this struggling team. Asik may not be the answer, but he is legitimate defensive presence and doesn’t hurt the Knicks more than they’re already hurting.