There were rumors circulating all of last summer that the Houston Rockets were going to trade Omer Asik heading into the 2013-14 NBA season, especially after the signing of Dwight Howard. After nothing came of it, the same talks continued up until the 2014 NBA Trade Deadline. Still, nothing happened.
Now something has happened regarding the Rockets and Asik.
According to multiple reports, the Rockets have traded Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for a 2015 first-round pick. The Pelicans were one of the teams associated time and again with Asik last season, largely with Ryan Anderson’s name being associated. Now it seems that only a future first-rounder was able to get the deal done.
There’s good reason for the Rockets to accept only a draft pick for Asik considering where they are right now as an organization. General manager Daryl Morey has made it no secret that he wants to add a third star to put in the lineup alongside Howard and James Harden. With two stars available in unrestricted free agency in Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, they needed to make some moves to clear the cap-space to sign a player of that caliber and the Asik trade is the first step in making that happen.
For the Pelicans, putting Asik at center allows Anthony Davis to move to his more natural position at power forward and will likely make for a scary defensive combination that gives opponents a terror of a time trying to score at the rim. However, this move is mostly about what it could mean for the Rockets moving forward.
There’s no guarantee that either Anthony or James are leaving the franchises that they exercised their respective early termination options with, but the fact that they are available and that Houston has become an attractive destination has the Rockets—as well as all other 29 teams in reality—clamoring at the chance to sign one of the two star players.
There are legitimate questions about how Anthony would fit in the system and even how James would fit with them to a certain degree. However, in the quest for landing a third star, Morey and the Rockets knew coming into this offseason that they had to do some work with their roster and their books. Getting Asik off of their payroll is definitely a terrific place to start doing just that.