Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik joined the Houston Rockets during the same offseason. Last year, while Asik more or less played the way everyone expected him to, Lin struggled. This year, the roles have reversed. Whereas Asik hasn’t been able to get into any sort of rhythm playing beside Dwight Howard, Lin has been thriving off the bench.
The parallels are hard to miss.
Lin’s struggles last year were a direct byproduct of James Harden being added to the fold, and nudging him out of his comfort zone. The same thing holds true for Asik. He can’t play the sort of game he is used to because he is not accustomed to playing with someone like Howard. And much in the same way Lin was subjected to endless trade speculation, Asik has been the center focus of a ton of trade rumors over the past few weeks.
The problem for Houston at this point is that Asik isn’t playing well enough to garner the sort of offers that management thinks it should be getting. That’s why it is doubtful that any legitimate deal for Asik will be for him alone; more likely than not, it will have to feature Lin, too.
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According to Mitch Lawrence of the NY Daily News, the Rockets are considering the following:
The Trail Blazers are off to one of their best starts in years, but they’re not kidding themselves. They know they’ve taken advantage of a pillow-soft schedule and have surprised themselves with their shooting (45%). So they’re quietly looking to improve, talking to the Rockets about trading for Omer Asik. They can send back Robin Lopez in a deal, but don’t have the “stretch four’’ the Houston is looking for as it searches for a home for its disgruntled backup center. The Rockets want a power forward who can shoot threes to pair next to Dwight Howard. That led them, predictably, to the Pelicans, home of Ryan Anderson. But the Pelicans refused to part with Anderson, even though putting Asik in the middle and moving Anthony Davis to power forward makes a lot of sense.
Again, unless they’re willing to settle for the bare minimum, it’s very unlikely that the Rockets will get what they want for Asik without also including Lin in the deal.