The Houston Rockets are reportedly demanding two first round picks for Omer Asik. This is troublesome for several reasons. First and foremost: He’s having a terrible year. After averaging 10.1 points and 11 rebounds in his first season with the Rockets, Asik’s averages are down to 4.4 points and 6.8 rebounds. His trade value has never been lower. On top of that, Houston’s frontline is much better without him in the starting lineup than with him. That also doesn’t help his trade value. And finally, because the demand for Asik is so weak right now, Daryl Morey will likely have to throw in a Jeremy Lin if he really wants the move to happen.
Asik, 27, is owed $15 million next year. When it became apparent that the Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans weren’t piquing Morey’s interest, there was some aimless speculation that the Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks might be interested in pursuing some sort of transaction with the Rockets. Well, as noted by Alan Hahn, that can’t happen.
Sure, the Lakers need both a young point guard and a big man, but even if they were willing to mortgage their remaining financial flexibility for Lin and Asik, they don’t have any draft picks worth swapping for. Same goes for the Knicks. Even if they were down to tie themselves into a financial pretzel to bring in a couple of roleplayers, something the franchise did on numerous occasions in the Isiah Thomas era, they lack the picks necessary to make this thing happen.
So what does that mean?
It means that if Asik and Lin get moved, Boston remains the likeliest destination. It’s a deal that makes way too much sense to ignore. The Celtics will need to get rid of Rondo sooner or later, and the only piece that Morey’s squad lacks at this point is an All-Star starting point guard. Lin and Asik would get the opportunity to play the roles they thought they would play prior to James Harden and Dwight Howard being added, and Houston would get a one who functions better as a passer than shooter.
At the moment, Boston-Houston is the only sensible deal that’s being discussed. Everything else is just noise.