A 5-on-5 Projecting Omer Asik’s Future

You know why we’re here. We know why we’re here. Omer Asik is (probably) getting traded very, very soon, and once it happens the deal’s aftershock will reverberate around the entire NBA. It may be the season’s most important trade, and it could happen any minute. Here are five questions tackled by five writers on our staff. THAT’S HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS. Great. Now on with it.

1.) What primary need should the Rockets address if they deal Asik?

John Wilmes: Perimeter and/or point guard defense. I’m pretty scared of what Tony Parker or Chris Paul might do to this team in a seven-game series. The Rockets would benefit hugely from an experienced system guy, outside of the paint, who knows how to snuff out the half-court machinations of other system guys.

Robert Dover: Replacement backup Centre. Forty eight minutes of rim protection is still a noble goal the Rockets should strive to achieve, and for that they need an upgrade over Greg Smith to mop up the minutes Howard isn’t on the court for. Since it is highly unlikely that any centre they get in return will be as good as Asik, Morey should be able to get a secondary asset in the deal as well – some additional wing depth might be nice.

Eric Nielsen: The Rockets need defense at every position and veterans with experience, toughness and a decent field goal percentage. If Morey is fishing for draft picks, I’m hoping he has a plan to use them at the trade deadline.  We need to get better before the playoffs.

Michael Pina: If they don’t believe Greg Smith can be the backup center, then one of those guys is needed. If Smith’s cool, then Houston needs a long wing defender who can rebound, dribble, pass, and shoot. Is that asking too much?

Paul McGuire: A backup center to replace Asik and then a backup wing. Greg Smith lacks the defensive impact to function as a true backup center for Dwight Howard, and the Rockets need wing depth to help Harden and Parsons, especially since Harden has just been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain. Amusingly enough, power forward may be one of the last things that the Rockets are looking for right now in an Asik deal.

2.) Which single team looks like the most likely trade partner? Bonus Question: Which two teams are most likely to do a three-way trade with Houston?

Wilmes: According to the latest rumblings, it’s the Boston Celtics. Looks like Danny Ainge is willing to swallow Asik’s poison pill—and probably wanting to break up the continuity of Brad Stevens’ surprisingly effective band of ragamuffins, and get to the tanking already—in order to shed Jeff Green’s contract, which extends a year longer into 2015-16. This is when the Celtics could be looking to take on new salary.

Dover: Philadelphia, because of the Morey/Hinkie connection. We’ve seen reports from both Feigen and Amick that the Rockets Front Office already has a deal in place. To have something solid agreed so far in advance of when the deal is to be done implies that the GMs involved must have a good working relationship, especially given how last-minute a lot of NBA trades seem to be. If I had to guess who the third team in the deal is, I would go for Atlanta.

Nielsen: The Sixers seem to be the team that everyone is alluding to the most.  If Morey does have a deal done and is just waiting on a better one, chances are it’s with the Sixers.  Cleveland and Philly look like partners in a three-team deal—Asik will stay in the East, regardless, because he’s good and will want to make the Rockets pay.

Pina: Given their recent history together (different ownership and primary decision-makers aside), I’ll go out on a limb and say the Sacramento Kings. Their inability to deal a first-round pick until 2019 is worrisome, but if every other offer stinks, and Asik can be dealt for something like Ben McLemore and Jason Thompson, Daryl Morey will consider doing it for the sake of packaging McLemore and Houston’s own first rounder in another deal down the line.

McGuire: Boston. The Celtics so far this season have not looked like a team ready to just throw in the tank, and could go far in the Titanic, er, Atlantic Division. They are a rare combination of a team that has no real center and yet willing to make a playoff push, and have a load of players that Houston could want from Courtney Lee to Brandon Bass to maybe even Jeff Green.

3.) Which obtainable player would you most want back? 

Wilmes: Ever since the Harden trade, “realistically obtainable” has taken on a comic tone in any of Daryl Morey’s doings. I’m stretching here, as there’s not been a peep about this possibility, but ever since I saw Tom Haberstroh put the suddenly crumbling Memphis Grizzlies at a less than 2% chance of making the terrifying Western Conference Playoffs, I’ve concocted dreams of Tony Allen making his way to Houston in some sort of complex multi-team deal.

Dover: My ideal target is Spencer Hawes. At 7’1″, he has the size to be an imposing backup centre. In addition, he would provide an additional wrinkle to the Rockets’ attack by being able to space the floor much better than either Howard or Asik can at the moment. He can be inconsistent at times, but when he is on his game he can be an excellent player. Just look at his numbers this season so far: 14.8 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.6 blocks per game and 43% from beyond the arc! He would be perfect backing up Howard.

Nielsen: It would be amazing if we could pick up Paul Millsap.  Considering Asik has given next to nothing this year, that would be a tremendous upgrade.  It’s a long shot for the Hawks to make that deal.

Pina: The best case scenario is Paul Millsap. But aside from that, another option: Not sure if he’s obtainable, but going from earlier rumors that Houston has conducted talk with the Charlotte Bobcats, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would be a nice get. He can’t shoot (yet), but before he broke his hand there were few wing defenders in the league who shared his pertinent tenacity.

McGuire: While the odds of Asik going to Dallas are miniscule at best, Shawn Marion. Even at his age, Marion is still a defensive force, and perimeter defense remains Houston’s biggest concern this season. He can also be a secondary big, provide veteran leadership, and would not impact Houston’s cap over the long term.

4.) What are the odds Asik isn’t traded this week?

Wilmes: Not being an insider, my guess here is as good as anyone’s—but I’m at least 87% sure that the disgruntled asset who’s been upgraded upon and is sitting out with a potentially invented injury will be dealt by his especially active GM by week’s end. There’s just too much damage done between team and player, and too much momentum around the league, for this not to happen.

Dover: Very low – I would say 10%. The Rockets can either make a deal now or wait until the trade deadline. But the longer they wait, the smaller the pool of potential partners gets. Realistically, only teams that wish to improve their team are going to want Asik, and the longer the season goes on the more likely teams are to make a decision about whether to go for the playoffs or tank for the lottery. If you factor in Morey’s desire to trade Asik to the Eastern Conference, suddenly you realise that there aren’t many teams that fit the bill to deal with any more! Given that there is supposed to be a trade framework in place already, the only way a deal is not done this week is if someone gets cold feet and backs out. But I would have thought that given how much dealing the Rockets have been doing, there should be at least one palatable offer out there to take.

Nielsen: 45% – After Morey let the world know he would move Asik, his credibility could take a hit with other GMs if he doesn’t trade him.  If the Rockets believe that Asik will play hard (a big if), he could stay.  Or, if the pieces aren’t good enough in return, Morey waits until the trade deadline.

Pina: 20%. Anything’s possible, but I’m not sure why he wouldn’t be dealt, especially if it limits other deals down the road.

McGuire: 40%. It was 70% until one notices the utter lack of information on Asik returning anytime soon from his injury. One thing I will note is that this supposed deadline exists so that Morey could then re-trade the new pieces at the trade deadline – but none of the proposed trades I have seen really takes this into account, which calls doubts about how true this deadline actually is.

5.) What deal do you expect to happen (if it does happen)?

Wilmes: Again, simply based off of the strength of the latest rumblings, I expect a (three team?) deal involving the Celtics. The Rockets will get some useable pieces, but maybe not the one it needs; Jeff Green and Brandon Bass are something less and different, respectively, than perimeter defensive stalwarts. It seems Morey did not want to deal Asik within the conference—a wise move, as his placement with any number of direct competitors could result in Houston’s undoing.

Dover: Here’s my best guess: The Rockets get Hawes plus some wing depth in Carroll (who has already been a Rocket for a while – I think Morey likes him). The 76ers get worse by trading away Hawes (which is in their interest), plus they get a nice young guard in Jenkins who may flourish for them down the road. Ancic and Mack are filler to make the salaries match. The Hawks get Asik, and also Brewer (since otherwise the Rockets would just have to cut him). With the imposing front line of Horford, Asik and Millsap, the Hawks would be strong favourites to be the 3rd seed in the East.

Nielsen: Knowing Morey and his penchant for picking up pieces, he’ll get a marginal player or two and some draft picks as a set up for a bigger deal coming at the trade deadline.

Pina: I wrote on CelticsHub earlier this week that trading Asik to Boston for Brandon Bass, Vitor Faverani, and the Los Angeles Clippers’ 2015 first-round pick sort of makes sense for everyone involved. I don’t necessarily think that’s what will happen, but both sides would be happy enough doing it.

McGuire: Three-way deal between Boston, Philadelphia, and Houston. Houston gets Thaddeus Young and Celtics center Vitor Faverani, Boston gets Asik, and Philadelphia gets expiring contracts (Kris Humphries, etc.), and picks. It will not be a total victory for Daryl Morey, but it will get this giant mess over with and the return is acceptable.

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Total comments: 21
  • rocketrick says 4 months ago

    bass has some value, but lee's contract is horrendous....


    Which is why I was kind of hoping there was more to the trade than being reported on. Getting back Bass (2 years remaining at $6.75M and $6.95M) and Lee (3 years remaining at $5.225M, $5.45M and $5.675M) is going to be challenging, to say the least, for Morey to somehow repackage and send out by the February trade deadline.

    The draft pick(s) coming back in this trade will be key to how palatable this trade becomes going forward.

    Still, Bass and Lee are serviceable players that could contribute now off the bench. So not a total disaster in my opinion.

    Everyone wants more and would prefer more for Asik but I have no doubt this is probably the best Morey could do if that's what goes down tomorrow.
  • smeggysmeg says 4 months ago

    Probably not immediately, if ever. Could be that Bass and/or Courtney Lee is shipped to the 3rd team involved, assuming this must be a 3-team deal in the works. So it may not matter anyway until the dust settles and we learn who and where, etc.

    bass has some value, but lee's contract is horrendous....

  • Cooper says 4 months ago Maybe if jones folds under playoff pressure, bass gets the nod but he really should be a bench player.
  • rocketrick says 4 months ago Probably not immediately, if ever. Could be that Bass and/or Courtney Lee is shipped to the 3rd team involved, assuming this must be a 3-team deal in the works. So it may not matter anyway until the dust settles and we learn who and where, etc.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 4 months ago

    Would Bass start over T Jones?

  • thejohnnygold says 4 months ago

    TJG,

    maybe you are right and philly does really want him..... although seems like he would help them this year, perhaps they will balance his D by running their offense thru him at the high post...

    certainly concede two contenders trading is unlikely

    the not trade him to the west just feels weird.... almost feels like Morey wants to show some old school GM traits...... his mo is all about value, and excluding a bunch of teams (cause we might face them in playoffs or change their overall value) seems to minimise the likelihood of getting maximal value for Sad Omer

    PS I'm gonna miss him, loved his work ethic, hair, effort, flaws, judge reinholdness, and clutch hack a omer FTs v OKC in playoffs, the guy got screwed by circumstance....

    :lol: Nice one! I would pay to watch Philly play an entire game running their offense through Asik in the high post.

    As for the No Trade in the West thing. First, we don't know that--we just presume it. Second, I think it is valid because there is huge value in not letting your competitors get better and, by most accounts, adding Asik to teams like OKC, Dallas, SA, or whoever would make them better--even if we got something nice back in return.

    Besides, what would OKC give us for Asik? Perkins? That makes no sense for us.

    I will also miss him. He was one of my favorite players to root for.

  • rocketrick says 4 months ago

    TJG,

    maybe you are right and philly does really want him..... although seems like he would help them this year, perhaps they will balance his D by running their offense thru him at the high post...

    certainly concede two contenders trading is unlikely

    the not trade him to the west just feels weird.... almost feels like Morey wants to show some old school GM traits...... his mo is all about value, and excluding a bunch of teams (cause we might face them in playoffs or change their overall value) seems to minimise the likelihood of getting maximal value for Sad Omer

    PS I'm gonna miss him, loved his work ethic, hair, effort, flaws, judge reinholdness, and clutch hack a omer FTs v OKC in playoffs, the guy got screwed by circumstance....


    I don't think Asik got screwed by circumstance. He has made more money after signing with the Rockets than he ever has. Kudos to the Rockets and Morey for signing Asik while never giving up on eventually signing D12. Asik was the perfect backup plan for the Rockets going forward IF D12 signed elsewhere.
  • rocketrick says 4 months ago And remember "It never ends" as the NBA is a continual revolving door. The better teams tend to be more set with their roster (meaning key rotation players) which I hope the Rockets can get to sooner than later.
  • smeggysmeg says 4 months ago

    TJG,

    maybe you are right and philly does really want him..... although seems like he would help them this year, perhaps they will balance his D by running their offense thru him at the high post...

    certainly concede two contenders trading is unlikely

    the not trade him to the west just feels weird.... almost feels like Morey wants to show some old school GM traits...... his mo is all about value, and excluding a bunch of teams (cause we might face them in playoffs or change their overall value) seems to minimise the likelihood of getting maximal value for Sad Omer

    PS I'm gonna miss him, loved his work ethic, hair, effort, flaws, judge reinholdness, and clutch hack a omer FTs v OKC in playoffs, the guy got screwed by circumstance....

  • thejohnnygold says 4 months ago

    First, I agree with RocketRick by saying, "Huh?" :huh:

    I'm not sure what my previous post has to do with your response, rm90025.

    On a slightly different note (the trade machine reference reminded me) I keep seeing Lin trades that don't get us any kind of PG in return. I'm not saying Lin's untouchable, but we will need something to replace him in any trade.

    SmeggySmeg, I don't think we can make a good trade with a contender in our conference because they are looking to move different pieces than we want. Two contenders have a tough time trading because they are each in the same mode. A contender and a team rebuilding can trade more easily because they have different goals. This is largely why our main trade partners (allegedly) for Asik are cellar dwellers.

    It's not certain that Omer will get re-packaged. It is just speculation on my part--who knows how this all ends? Maybe Philly wants to flip Nerlens Noel and is counting on Asik to play Center for them? Anything is possible!

  • smeggysmeg says 4 months ago

    It's a bit far-fetched, but it is possible that Morey's wily ways could get him in trouble here. By insisting on trading before the 19th so that a second trade can be executed he is also leaving the door open for whoever gets Asik to turn around and trade him back to the Western Conference. If I were the GM acquiring him I would already have a secondary trade in the works. Aside from Atlanta, all of our potential trade partners are trying to tank and acquire assets/cap flexibility. Asik doesn't help that very much.

    I could see a trade with OKC or Dallas (especially them since Cuban would love it) happening. It's just food for thought--probably won't happen though.

    for me this is the weird part, with his imposed deadline DM is basically allowing Sad Omer to get to the Western Conference.....surely he knows this will happen, Philly dont want Sad Omer, they will just flip him to OKC or some other west contender.....

    if this is going to happen, the DM should just trade him to the west if that nets the best return

  • rocketrick says 4 months ago

    The NBA trade machine generates literally dozens of credible trade proposals. It's a question of how big Morey wants to go and how creative he can be.

    People respect Morey's guile and vision, but let's be serious, if McHale had been able to clearly define and commit to a role for Asik and get the player's buy-in,Morey would not be making a trade right now.Morey is trying to do the best he can with a bad hand. The only way he can claim to have made a good deal is if he goes for a bigger deal and that means involving players like Lin, Beverley, D-Mo or even Parsons.


    What? It's McHales fault for "not clearly defining and committing to a role for Asik"? Maybe it's my imagination at play, but didn't McHale give Asik an opportunity by deploying a twin tower lineup at the start of the season which of course turned out to be a disaster?

    Immediately after being replaced in the starting lineup by Terrance Jones, like the very next day Asik and his agent starting demanding a trade as they had over the summer once the Rockets signed D12 to a contract. Once the twin tower lineup proved to be dysfunctional, just exactly what other options remained to satisfy Asik?
  • rm90025 says 4 months ago

    The NBA trade machine generates literally dozens of credible trade proposals. It's a question of how big Morey wants to go and how creative he can be.

    It's a bit far-fetched, but it is possible that Morey's wily ways could get him in trouble here. By insisting on trading before the 19th so that a second trade can be executed he is also leaving the door open for whoever gets Asik to turn around and trade him back to the Western Conference. If I were the GM acquiring him I would already have a secondary trade in the works. Aside from Atlanta, all of our potential trade partners are trying to tank and acquire assets/cap flexibility. Asik doesn't help that very much.

    I could see a trade with OKC or Dallas (especially them since Cuban would love it) happening. It's just food for thought--probably won't happen though.

    People respect Morey's guile and vision, but let's be serious, if McHale had been able to clearly define and commit to a role for Asik and get the player's buy-in,Morey would not be making a trade right now.Morey is trying to do the best he can with a bad hand. The only way he can claim to have made a good deal is if he goes for a bigger deal and that means involving players like Lin, Beverley, D-Mo or even Parsons.

  • rocketrick says 4 months ago AB has a no trade clause so you can remove him off the list of tradeable assets.

    I agree with ST, it would behoove the Rockets for player chemistry purposes to resolve the Asik situation without requiring other significant rotation players also being involved. Exception of course for an impact player like a Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Milsap, etc. which in my opinion is far fetched but certainly sounds good theoretically.
  • Sir Thursday says 4 months ago

    A major question that hasn't been asked is:

    What are we willing to give up in a trade?

    We are talking guys like brooks, bev, tjones, dmo, garcia... and/or anyone aside from our big three.

    I don't think we want to be giving up too much. Maintaining the chemistry of this team is paramount, and I don't think it makes sense to make larger changes than necessary to resolve the Asik situation. We are a contending team these days, so trying to integrate 2-3 new guys into the rotation is a big deal. If we did have to through someone else into the equation, I would have a strong preference for it being someone not currently in the rotation. Dealing additional rotation pieces should only be done if it nets us a BIG upgrade.

    ST

  • thejohnnygold says 4 months ago

    It's a bit far-fetched, but it is possible that Morey's wily ways could get him in trouble here. By insisting on trading before the 19th so that a second trade can be executed he is also leaving the door open for whoever gets Asik to turn around and trade him back to the Western Conference. If I were the GM acquiring him I would already have a secondary trade in the works. Aside from Atlanta, all of our potential trade partners are trying to tank and acquire assets/cap flexibility. Asik doesn't help that very much.

    I could see a trade with OKC or Dallas (especially them since Cuban would love it) happening. It's just food for thought--probably won't happen though.

  • John P says 4 months ago

    Dream land here but...

    Courtney Lee (I know he had a bad year last year, haven't watched this year, but he used to gave good D and good O, which we need to support Harden and Parsons and even some backup backup backup PG)
    Jeff Green (decent all around game to support Jones and Parsons)
    ...and maybe then a 1st? (the 1st is really wishful thinking I know)

    the Rockets give up...
    Asik, obviously
    Beverley or DMo (I know giving up Bev is tough on the D but Lee has decent D and to get that first it may be the price to pay)

  • bboley24 says 4 months ago

    A major question that hasn't been asked is:

    What are we willing to give up in a trade?

    We are talking guys like brooks, bev, tjones, dmo, garcia... and/or anyone aside from our big three.

  • rm90025 says 4 months ago

    ESPN Trade Machine approved trade proposals:

    Rockets, Knicks, Celtics:

    Rockets get: Jeff Green, Andrea Bargnani, Pablo Prigioni

    Knicks get: Jeremy Lin, D. Motiejunas

    Celtics get: Omer Asik, R. Brewer

    Rockets, Bulls, Celtics

    Rockets get: Luol Deng, Courtney Lee, Victor Faverani

    Bulls get: Jeremy Lin

    Celtics get: Omer Asik

  • Forrest Walker says 4 months ago

    I'm kind of into the idea of Jeff Green at the 4. Getting the starters improved is always a better plan than improving the bench, especially with a guy who can dig talent out of stone like Morey. If there's any way he can make the starting 5 better, he'll do it. Then he'll make a deal at the deadline to get the bench in order.

  • redfaithful says 4 months ago

    Given the discussion above, this trade could make sense to everyone: http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=mcgmald