Multiple sources have now come out and confirmed that the latest manifestation of an Omer Asik deal would include Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee, and a draft pick with the two sides currently haggling over which pick would be sent to Houston; reportedly, other teams have dropped out of discussions.
The key on this deal from the earlier Berger piece, for me:
But that potential exchange struck rival GMs as strange, considering the lack of market there would be for Bass and Lee in future trades. Houston wants to fulfill Asik’s trade request by Thursday so any players taken back could be repackaged in other deals before the Feb. 20 deadline.
“No one wants Lee or Bass on a third team or later deal,” one executive said. “They make more than their skill set.”
Bass and Lee are both solid players who would upgrade this team from its current state and fill some of its biggest holes (frontcourt depth, perimeter defense). But neither are exactly assets that could later be repackaged; Lee, in particular, has a gruesome deal which extends into 2016. And of course, both players are backups. It doesn’t really fit the Daryl Morey MO to not only give up the best player in a trade for less value but also, to take back a long-term contract. But I guess that is the situation Omer Asik has put the Rockets front office in. If it were me, I would just hold onto Asik. If your haul is Bass and Lee, two guys who can’t be flipped (per Berger), why the rush to trade Asik by the 19th? You might as well just hold onto him until the deadline and see what happens. I highly doubt he’s going to continue this fake injury charade for that long, even if unhappy.
Still, this is Morey, and he never gets fleeced, so we just need to wait and see what happens. But that fact itself is what makes this whole thing so odd.
The rumors are swirling at a frantic speed and by now, you’ve heard all the names. Thad Young, Spencer Hawes, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Paul Millsap, and draft picks held by the Charlotte Bobcats. What would be the best haul? Thad Young and Jeff Green seem to be out because of the length of each player’s respective deal. Spencer Hawes would seem to be coming back in any deal, just because he stands to seem like the best backup big on the market and has an expiring contract to boot. And Millsap is the most underrated player in the league (check out his RAPM) with maybe the best contract out there – slide him into that lineup next to Howard and you could have something scary; but it seems, from reports, that the Hawks are wary of making a deal.
Would you rather have the picks or Millsap? What can you get with the picks and how difficult would it be to get them? For instance, as I’ve been speculating on Twitter for the past hour or so, what would it take to get the Timberwolves to bite on a Kevin Love offer? If they’re forced to trade Love, I don’t see anyone beating out a package of Terrence Jones + 3 picks + (salary filler). Those three picks would presumably be two acquired through the Asik deal and then one of the Rockets’ own. I just don’t know if I could see a more attractive offer out there considering young prospects and picks is what teams target in these type of deals, especially with Jones’ recent emergence. Then again, though, a big component of that Harden trade was the fact that the Toronto pick was guaranteed lottery. If you don’t think that package is enough to get Love, then maybe you just prefer Millsap in the Omer deal over the picks?
And can you even get two picks? I think everyone would agree that in this three-way that is about to happen, you will be able to get Spencer Hawes and at least one draft pick. But can you get two? And what would it take to get two? Can you find someone to give you a draft pick for Jeremy Lin while taking back one of their bad contracts? If that’s the case, I’d throw him in there too. Again though, it’s extremely risky to blow up this team and be left holding picks that aren’t exactly flippable. You have to be sure that that new package can get you a star at the deadline.
And lastly, what is the thinking on Jones? Is he the future or are you trying to replace him with Millsap or, gulp, Love? Jones has looked tremendous but it’s extremely difficult to win a championship with young players, especially frontcourt starters. All of the other true contenders have veteran cores. The Rockets’ only real relevant veteran is Dwight Howard; even Harden is still pretty new at his role.
In hindsight, the Rockets’ 2012/13 season was a blissful respite from the injury plague. Mostly healthy throughout the regular season, they were able to exceed expectations on the way to a playoff berth no-expected. This year the bug is back and putting a damper on the franchise’s most promising season in years, with several players struggling to fight off niggles. But even in times such as this, it should only take one look at gaping hole in the Chicago’s point guard rotation to have the Rockets counting their blessings. Thanks to the absence of Derrick Rose, the Bulls have dropped from being a title contender to being part of the morass of mediocrity that is the middle of the Eastern Conference. It’s an object lesson that someone always has it worse than you.