The Portland Trail Blazers are reportedly planning to make a run at Houston Rockets disgruntled center Omer Asik in an attempt to further bolster their interior defense, a source close to situation reported on Thursday.
The Blazers, who are currently sitting on top of a very competitive Western Conference, have been mentioned as a wild card team in the increasingly completed sweepstakes for Asik.
After just few games playing alongside Dwight Howard, Asik has finally made a formal demand for a trade because he felt he can't co-exist with the three-time Defensive Player of the Year.
Asik, who averaged 4.4 points and 6.8 rebounds this season, has drawn interest from at least five teams. According to Yahoo Sports NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics are the frontrunners to get Asik. However, he also indicated a 'wild card' team that could come out of nowhere and steal the 7-foot defensive powerhouse.
"Beyond Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland and Philadelphia, I know there's one more significant team in Asik mix. "A wildcard," Wojnarowski posted on his Twitter account last week.
CBS Sports NBA insider Matt Moore revealed the identity of the wildcard team, which happens to be the Trail Blazers.
"Tuesday night word surfaced of a "mystery team" involved in talks for Houston center Omer Asik who is being auctioned off to the highest bidder. There were no indications of who that might be. RealGM.com reports that the team is the Portland Trail Blazers, or at least that the Blazers are indeed interested and involved in trade talks for Asik," Moore stated on his article.
Getting the Trade Done
Many basketball followers believed Asik will be an upgrade over center Robin Lopez on the defensive end. However, the trade proposal remains a head-scratcher for others because Lopez has been such an integral part of Blazers' current run. Moreover, Lopez is a more polished scorer at point blank range while Asik is still learning to be a solid low-post scorer. The Blazers also don't possess a first-round pick in 2014 NBA Draft, which is one of requirements imposed by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.
Still, the Blazers could still make a gamble anytime before February trade deadline. For the deal to be materialized, Portland has to give up former lottery pick Meyers Leonard, Spanish power forward Victor Claver and in a first-rounder in 2015 or 2016 drafts.
Yes, Lopez will stay with the Blazers. Yet, it's uncertain if he's going to get 30 minutes per game upon Asik's arrival. Still, the Blazers will surely benefit having perhaps the deepest depth chart at the center position with Lopez and Asik taking turns as the man in the middle.
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