Feigen on the trade front:

“Morey would not discuss his plans, but a person with knowledge of the Rockets’ thinking said Morey set his Dec. 19 deadline in part because he knows he has an offer he is willing to take. Though things can change several times by Thursday, that individual said “it very likely will be a pretty complicated, three-way deal. There are a lot of moving parts.”

“Ideally, the Rockets hoped to pick up a player who can quickly step into the rotation and, one way or another, have the impact they hoped Asik would have. Less desirable but more likely, Morey would have to put together a package of players or picks for Asik, knowing that the mixed grill option is usually not as valuable as getting one stronger player, especially for a team now built to contend quickly.”

“With the emergence of Terrence Jones as the starting power forward, Morey is not determined to find a starter at the position. He hopes to come away with either a strong defensive wing who can catch-and-shoot, a power forward who can fill in as a backup center, or expiring contracts that come with first-round picks – or some combination of those assets.”

“According to individuals with knowledge of the talks, the Rockets do not have a deal in place but were greatly encouraged when trade talks intensified Dec. 6, so much so that the confidence that they would be ready to pull the trigger helped inspire the Dec. 19 “deadline” as much as needing a deal by then to be able to move players again this season.”

“As much as speculation has centered around Thad Young, if the Rockets are to do a deal with Philadelphia and former Rockets assistant GM Sam Hinkie, it is more likely to be a three-team deal in which the player the Sixers trade goes elsewhere.

The Rockets likely would want draft picks in a deal, and Hinkie is not expected to give those up. If the deal was for Young, the Rockets and Sixers would not have had to wait until Dec. 15. And if the Rockets were to try to get one of the Sixers players who don’t fit in Hinkie’s long-term plans, it would be more likely for Spencer Hawes, a range shooter who could play next to Dwight Howard or as his backup with Asik gone.”

My guess, at the moment, is a three-way with Omer going to the Sixers, Spencer Hawes coming back to Houston, Thad Young going somewhere else, and a pick or asset coming back to Houston from the third destination.  So who wants Thad Young?

in musings

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.

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in essays

The Houston Rockets are the very embodiment of efficiency. The strategy is in place. General Manager Daryl Morey is the architect, and James Harden is his agent on the court. Nothing less than three pointers, points in the paint and free throws are acceptable for this team. The aversion to the long two pointer, the alleged least efficient shot in basketball, is so great that Dwight Howard stepped back to make sure to avoid one before he sunk his third three pointer of his career on a desperation heave. The effort and chemistry may be touch and go, but the game plan is there, and the name of the game is analytics.

The Sacramento Kings just traded for Rudy Gay. Gay is a talented player and they seem to have a plan to use him next to franchise centerpiece DeMarcus Cousins. Also, Rudy Gay is shooting under 40% on the season. Gay is a shooter with no remorse, a player willing to take a shot from anywhere on the floor, no matter how many hands are in his face. Adding Gay to a team that already features volatile big man Cousins makes this Kings team fascinating, confusing, and just maybe dangerous.

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in game coverage

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