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Huq’s Pen: I still don’t think the Houston Rockets will deal Omer Asik

The rumors are swirling at a frantic pace, with some of the most credible names in the industry serving up tasteful morsels.  As always, required reading from the great Zach Lowe on Omer Asik’s market value.  As for the others, I’m not going to bother including links because if you’re reading me, you’re likely die-hard enough to have already seen/heard the other rumors on your own.  But a quick rundown: Marc Stein started the whole thing off by reporting that the Rockets would deal Asik by the 19th; we had David Aldridge suggesting the possibility of Anderson Verejao on-air on TNT; Sam Amick has stated that the Pelicans and Bucks (Ryan Anderson, Ilyasova) have both purportedly pulled themselves out of the mix; and finally Amick again reporting rival executive collective belief that the Rockets already have a deal in place with the Sixers.  Other news involves the Suns’ reported willingness to deal draft picks and ESPN’s Alan Hahn dropping the bombshell that many around the league believe the Rockets will deal Jeremy Lin if they can find a taker.

I’ve repeatedly been saying that I don’t think a deal will be made despite the reports.  I just have a very hard time seeing Morey agreeing to take back fifty cents on the dollar and allowing an artificial deadline to rule the day.  This was the second best player on a playoff team last season of whom we are speaking.  Thad Young just doesn’t make sense, especially with Terrence Jones looking comfortable.  And here’s another thing regarding which I want you to think closely: the Lowe article I cited states that opposing GM’s, while aware and in agreement of Asik’s value, are balking at paying Asik the balloon real-dollar payment he is owed next season.  The premise all along has been Asik needed to be traded this year for that very reason.  Well if they already are balking, then does it really even matter?  It’s not like his value is going to go down even further then if you don’t trade him this year.  The thinking was that you had to trade him this year so that the other team could at least reap some of the rewards of the reduced obligation from this season.  If Lowe’s report is correct, that flies out the window.

So let’s say they don’t deal Asik.  You really think he’s just going to sit out the whole year?  I highly doubt that.  He’ll get back on the court, and while he won’t recover the value he held last season, said value won’t depreciate further.  And his contributions will mean more to this team than those of someone like Thad Young.  The Rockets can then reassess things in the summer when more teams are willing to deal and perhaps include Jeremy Lin in a package.

So yeah, I just don’t see it.  You simply cannot convince me that Daryl Morey would allow some circumstances beyond his control to guide his hand.  That’s just not his thing and has never been his thing.

If they do make a deal, I think it will be for picks, perhaps to the Bobcats per the discussions Lowe mentioned.  And you’ll also see some sort of unexpected lateral moves for a backup center.

Other issues to keep an eye on: former Rockets Patrick Patterson and Kyle Lowry can both ball and are both on expiring contracts.  The Alan Hahn report comes as a shocker because I think Lin has played well, but one scenario that could make sense might be to deal Asik for picks, acquire Patterson to fill the backup big void, and then ship out Lin in a three-way bringing back Lowry for the backup backcourt slot.  With Asik and Lin off the books, and capable backups in place, the Rockets could continue to contend this year while setting themselves for near-max flexibility in the summer.  I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Morey sell high on Aaron Brooks now that he has seemed to have awoken from a coma which has dated back three years.  With teams such as the Lakers and Knicks wetting themselves frantically in search of point guard help, it wouldn’t seem too far fetched to see someone fork over a second rounder for Brooks.

With Morey, as always, expect the unexpected, and brace yourself for multiple deals.  They’ll find ways to shore up holes while maintaining flexibility.  That’s why every guy in the league playing on an expiring deal should be watched closely.

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Total comments: 18
  • Kiss_of_Death_Clutch_City says 10 months ago

    The Rockets might get stuck with alimony if they have to relieve the financial burden of the team they trade him to

  • Steven says 10 months ago

    Because of his value, and the fact that in business you do not always get what you want. Asik may not want to be here, but if he is unable to be moved I guarantee you he knows that the only way to stay valuable is to put his selfishness aside and just ball. He, or at least his agent, will understand that because of his contract the only way for him to be valuable enough to other GM's to trade for is to play like a beast. Furthermore, let's say worst case scenario happens, and Asik continues to sulk and be unproductive. Where would that leave Asik? With no bargaining power as a free-agent after the 2014-15 season and either out of basketball or playing on a cheap contract. I don't believe Asik is that stupid. Lastly, I want him to stay here because I do like his game and winning cures a lot of ills. Plus, I don't want him going to the competition. Let's say that he is unable to be moved, and is forced to re-commit to the Rockets and we go deep in the playoffs with Asik being an important member. Do you not think Asik would have some second thoughts about his role with the Rockets? Do you not think that he would realize: Hey I'm being paid really well, and I'm a key part of a championship contender, what more do I want? I think he would, and that's why I would rather not see him leave.

    To Asik, the Rockets are the spouse who cheated on him. It's over. Everyone is just going through the motions until the big fight happens. But at least he will get to keep all of his check instead of just half.
  • Kiss_of_Death_Clutch_City says 10 months ago

    Why do people want someone who has made it clear he doesn't want to be a Rocket, and is willing to not play in order to get his way?

    Because of his value, and the fact that in business you do not always get what you want. Asik may not want to be here, but if he is unable to be moved I guarantee you he knows that the only way to stay valuable is to put his selfishness aside and just ball. He, or at least his agent, will understand that because of his contract the only way for him to be valuable enough to other GM's to trade for is to play like a beast. Furthermore, let's say worst case scenario happens, and Asik continues to sulk and be unproductive. Where would that leave Asik? With no bargaining power as a free-agent after the 2014-15 season and either out of basketball or playing on a cheap contract. I don't believe Asik is that stupid. Lastly, I want him to stay here because I do like his game and winning cures a lot of ills. Plus, I don't want him going to the competition. Let's say that he is unable to be moved, and is forced to re-commit to the Rockets and we go deep in the playoffs with Asik being an important member. Do you not think Asik would have some second thoughts about his role with the Rockets? Do you not think that he would realize: Hey I'm being paid really well, and I'm a key part of a championship contender, what more do I want? I think he would, and that's why I would rather not see him leave.

  • Sir Thursday says 10 months ago

    I think I disagree with Rahat here. There have been enough reports for me to be pretty sure that something is brewing on the Asik trade front (even if I don't trust all of them). In an ideal world Asik would stay and be content with his role, but I'm pretty sure this is not the case, so it's up to Morey to get the best he can in return.

    I would love to get Spencer Hawes if possible - he's a little erratic but when he's on he can be very, very good. He has great range for a centre, which would fit our system to a 'T', and he fills the same position as Asik which conveniently means we wouldn't even have to mess with the rotation all that much. Plus it just so happens that Philadelphia are the most logical trading partner...sold!

    ST

  • Steven says 10 months ago Why do people want someone who has made it clear he doesn't want to be a Rocket, and is willing to not play in order to get his way?
  • marbony81110 says 10 months ago

    Unless the Rockets can get another premium big man to play backup center, I think they should just keep Asik. Having Howard and Asik is a luxury that rarely comes around. I do like the idea of Thaddeus Young or Milsap, but I just don't think they will bring the same value as keeping Asik. Howard and Asik will give the Rockets 48 minutes of rim protection. With Asik coming off the bench, although a huge weakness on the offensive end, would stabilize the defense of the second unit. Despite what people might think the Rockets' starters do play good defense even with Harden's "sometimes I'll try" defense.

    Rockets Starting lineup

    Minutes Played: 180
    Offensive Rating: 114.6 points per 100 possessions
    Defensive Rating: 97.8 points per 100 possessions

    Asik staying and coming off the bench will hopefully keep the defensive rating of the second unit close to the starters or even better since the bench seems to press on D more.

  • linonlyfan says 10 months ago

    Suddenly occurred to me this is a Morey jedi mind trick where we get to the "deadline" and Morey tells Asik "no one wants you right now, either you suit up and commit to the team raise your value and help us find a trade partner or you will rot for 1.5 years. Like many others, I simply can't see Morey taking a crap deal in return, and the teams with the assets / tankability want to tank, and the good teams don't want to pay 100c on the dollar. Of course Morey put the whole deadline thing out there just in case some rival GM had a fit of madness and gave some good stuff away.

    Looking at some of the games, it would definitely help if the 2nd unit had a real defensive center vs what now looks like a 1 or 2 guards + 3 or 4 wings type lineup. The starting five is completely awesome and with T Jones turning up as the clear cut choice in the best 5 lineup

  • rocketrick says 10 months ago

    New post: Clarification on my earlier thoughts...and more thoughts
    By: rahat huq



    First, judging by some of your response tweets, I realized I was unclear on something. When I say that "it was previously believed that Asik had to be traded this season," I wasn't referring to any media reports or the report that he would be dealt by the 19th. I was referring to the thought process that myself and other close observers of this team held since this summer that if the Rockets planned on dealing Asik, it would need to be this year so that the receiving team could spread out its costs. (This is because while Asik's cap hit is roughly $8million, he, like Jeremy Lin, is actually owed $5million this year and $15million next year. Thus, I believed that any team acquiring Asik this year could justify the $15million payment if getting his services for two years; if they were only getting one year at $15million, they would balk, I and a few others assumed.) But Zach Lowe is reporting that several teams are balking altogether at the prospect of paying the balloon payment, even if acquiring Asik right now. By my previous train of thought, that would eliminate the urgency to deal Asik.

    The reports though are that the team is intent on dealing the center by the end of this week. I'm not sure I buy it. As I said in my post earlier today, it's not as if he will sit out the entire season. Despite the tantrum, if a deal isn't made, I'm confident that Omer will pull his panties out of the wad in which they currently sit and get back on the court. Those backup center contributions are a lot more attractive than whatever production Thad Young could bring, in my humble opinion.

    But let's assume that this isn't a smokescreen and Omer truly will be dealt. Millsap has to be at the top of the list, even though I'd rather just keep Omer. But what I think we'll see is some combination of picks...which might precisely be why this recent swirl of Jeremy Lin rumors have made their way into the air. If Houston feels the best course is to unload Asik for just picks, it only makes sense to go the whole way and attempt to clear out Lin as well. That would give the Rockets an extra $16million of wiggle room this summer, which, while not enough for a true-max, is some serious flexibility to make an addition. I mentioned Kyle Lowry as an intriguing possibility in some sort of three-way maneuver because his abilities suffice to serve as a placeholder for the team's hopes this season until it could clear his contract off the books in the summer. Several of you cited his quarrels with Kevin McHale in dismissing that notion but I'd respond: do you really think Morey would allow pettiness such as that to stand as an obstacle to max-level flexibility? No.

    Lastly, Carmelo Anthony: I don't think the Knicks would forfeit their delusions of making that trainwreck of a roster work. But if they made Anthony available, I do honestly believe Daryl Morey would pursue. Adding Anthony to this lineup would give James Harden and Dwight Howard more room than either could ever imagine and would give Houston a viable inside threat. (For all his flashes, I don't trust Howard enough to give him touches in the post down the stretch.) Anthony also, of course, is about as 'stretchy' of a 'stretch 4' that you could ever hope to find.

    I don't think Asik will be moved. If he is, I think it will be for picks. I don't know what will happen. But I would be shocked if the return is Thaddeus Young. He wouldn't bring much of a new dynamic to the team nor can he be viewed as much of a liquid asset; those remaining three years on his deal also seem prohibitive. Stay tuned.

    Pretty well thought out for the most part.

    Although, I would like to point out by the Rockets trading Asik so quickly (assuming the December 19 deadline as set by Morey is for real), the team that acquires Asik will in effect obtain Asik's services for 1.75 years (out of the total 3 year term of contract). So slightlyless than $10 million per (averaging the remaining money owedAsik for this season and next)would be one way the acquiring team could envision the trade which seems to me to make the trade more palatable.

    It is very difficult to find Center's like Asik for $10 million per.

    Add in that Morey could sweeten the trade by offering $3 -$4 million cash which reduces the acquiring team's cost to slightly less than $8 million per (on average) for the remainder of this season (3/4 still left to play) and next.

  • rocketrick says 10 months ago

    The sooner Lin and Asik are traded, the sooner this team and fan base move on to a championship.

    I would rate the chances the Rockets trade both Asik and Lin to the same team as 0.0000000001%.

    It's difficult enough to convince some GM's that Asik is worth the $15 million balloon payment in the 2014-15 season.

    But both Asik and Lin? When there would be a $30 million payment due to both players next season (although the Cap Hit for bothwould be $16.6 million).

    I just don't see it.

    Besides, there is no need or no rush to move Jeremy Lin.

    The only "deadline" set by Morey is to trade Asik for obvious reasons.

  • Buckko says 10 months ago Agreed kiss of death.
  • Steven says 10 months ago The sooner Lin and Asik are traded, the sooner this team and fan base move on to a championship.
  • Kiss_of_Death_Clutch_City says 10 months ago

    (I posted this elsewhere, but it felt more appropriate here.)

    The truth as I see it:

    This Asik rumor swirl is posturing. Morey reportedly asking for two 1st rounders was to drive up the value for Asik, when in reality Morey would probably be happy to get one 1st round pick for Asik. Hearing that teams are balking at trading for Asik does not surprise me at all. Because of the money Asik is owed other GM's know that, even for a player of Asik's skill, this fact gives them some leverage as well. Putting this into the hands of the media and essentially driving down the value of Asik is a ploy to put pressure on Morey to take what he can get and so they scoop Asik up for cheaper than originally thought. I think Morey is smart enough to see through this, because worst case scenario is that Asik can't be moved and he stays a Rocket. I still think this is our best bet as a team because of the value he brings to the floor. Had we had him for the Portland game he could have provided better backup defense when Dwight sat than T-Jones. T-Jones is a beast, but he's not a center and should not have been guarding LaMarcus Aldridge. Just saying.

    As to the Lin trade rumors.....I don't like them and I'm not a LOF, nor do I really care for them other than: they buy tickets and merchandise, so they contribute to putting a good team on the floor. So in that respect they can stay and so can he. I don't like the fact that the LOF's can't embrace the team Lin plays on, but hey whatever. We will take them as band-wagoners and enjoy pointing out to them that there are other players on the Rockets and the rotations do not, nor should they, revolve around Lin. He is an excellent sixth man, and I don't think we are over paying him anymore. I probably wouldn't have said that last year, but he has made great strides with his left hand. So I really don't think there is a need to trade him.

    Look I understand the want to acquire a third super star, but I just don't think we need or want Carmelo Anthony. I've said this before and I'll say it again: I have been watching Carmelo since Syracuse and while I respect his game, I don't like him as a team player. He got pissed when Lin was stealing his spot light in New York, and with Harden and Howard already on the team I can just see that acquisition as turning into a pissing contest between the three.

    What we really need is stability. Either trade Asik or don't and then the team can move past the situation knowing who is going in to battle with them every night and solidify the chemistry that has already begun to form. Even the Heat didn't win the championship that first year with James. The Rockets team that one it all in '94 had to go through their own bumps in the few years leading up to it, losing to the Supersonics in a game 7 the year before.(Remember the OJ chase cutting in to the game in the 4th quarter? Craziness) Sure they got rookies Sam Cassell and Robert Horry in between seasons, but the core of the team was already there. They just needed to jell. A little turnover is to be expected and an upgrade without giving up too much would be great, but the current Rockets team already possess much of what they need to win a championship. They just need to jell.

  • feelingsupersonic says 10 months ago My gut tells me Asik doesn't get traded this week because Morey just can't pull the trigger on a bad deal. Maybe Lin gets traded I don't really know. Can Asik continue hating Dwight if he stays on the team?
  • RudyT1995 says 10 months ago

    I wouldn't mind getting Lowry back for Lin if his attitude doesn't become a distraction. I've missed using my bestMartin Lawrence voice whenever he makes a play. LAUW-Reh for 3! LAUW-Reh with the dish! LAUW-Reh for the win!

  • Red94 says 10 months ago New post: Clarification on my earlier thoughts...and more thoughts
    By: rahat huq

    First, judging by some of your response tweets, I realized I was unclear on something.  When I say that "it was previously believed that Asik had to be traded this season," I wasn't referring to any media reports or the report that he would be dealt by the 19th.  I was referring to the thought process that myself and other close observers of this team held since this summer that if the Rockets planned on dealing Asik, it would need to be this year so that the receiving team could spread out its costs.  (This is because while Asik's cap hit is roughly $8million, he, like Jeremy Lin, is actually owed $5million this year and $15million next year.  Thus, I believed that any team acquiring Asik this year could justify the $15million payment if getting his services for two years; if they were only getting one year at $15million, they would balk, I and a few others assumed.)  But Zach Lowe is reporting that several teams are balking altogether at the prospect of paying the balloon payment, even if acquiring Asik right now.  By my previous train of thought, that would eliminate the urgency to deal Asik.

    The reports though are that the team is intent on dealing the center by the end of this week.  I'm not sure I buy it.  As I said in my post earlier today, it's not as if he will sit out the entire season.  Despite the tantrum, if a deal isn't made, I'm confident that Omer will pull his panties out of the wad in which they currently sit and get back on the court.  Those backup center contributions are a lot more attractive than whatever production Thad Young could bring, in my humble opinion.

    But let's assume that this isn't a smokescreen and Omer truly will be dealt.  Millsap has to be at the top of the list, even though I'd rather just keep Omer.  But what I think we'll see is some combination of picks...which might precisely be why this recent swirl of Jeremy Lin rumors have made their way into the air.  If Houston feels the best course is to unload Asik for just picks, it only makes sense to go the whole way and attempt to clear out Lin as well.  That would give the Rockets an extra $16million of wiggle room this summer, which, while not enough for a true-max, is some serious flexibility to make an addition.  I mentioned Kyle Lowry as an intriguing possibility in some sort of three-way maneuver because his abilities suffice to serve as a placeholder for the team's hopes this season until it could clear his contract off the books in the summer.  Several of you cited his quarrels with Kevin McHale in dismissing that notion but I'd respond: do you really think Morey would allow pettiness such as that to stand as an obstacle to max-level flexibility?  No.

    Lastly, Carmelo Anthony: I don't think the Knicks would forfeit their delusions of making that trainwreck of a roster work.  But if they made Anthony available, I do honestly believe Daryl Morey would pursue.  Adding Anthony to this lineup would give James Harden and Dwight Howard more room than either could ever imagine and would give Houston a viable inside threat.  (For all his flashes, I don't trust Howard enough to give him touches in the post down the stretch.)  Anthony also, of course, is about as 'stretchy' of a 'stretch 4' that you could ever hope to find.

    I don't think Asik will be moved.  If he is, I think it will be for picks.  I don't know what will happen.  But I would be shocked if the return is Thaddeus Young.  He wouldn't bring much of a new dynamic to the team nor can he be viewed as much of a liquid asset; those remaining three years on his deal also seem prohibitive.  Stay tuned.

  • RudyT1995 says 10 months ago

    Would Lowry want to come back? He didn't leave on the best of terms to put it mildly. Plus, the guy does not see himself as being a backup. Which is a shame, because he would indeed be great third guard for us.

  • Hockey the Harden Way says 10 months ago

    I personally hope Asik has a change of heart in regard to being the Rockets' backup center. If Asik puts forth the effort he put in Memphis, he'll give this coaching staff reason to finish with him. Remember, it's not who starts games, but who finishes them.

    That said, Dwight is returning to his Orlando form. If Asik somehow stays, and accepts his bench role here, we could have the best center play for 48 minutes, of any team in the game.

  • Buckko says 10 months ago

    Aron brooks has a no trade clause and I would not want lowery. He would just disrupt the chemistry and Patterson would not be able to fill our backup C spot plus we would lose our 6th man in lin.

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