When Dwight Howard has signed with the Houston Rockets in the offseason, the Rockets front office, players and fans rejoiced at coup of a offseason acquisition that stole the big man away from Western Conference rivals Los Angeles Lakers—except for one, Omer Asik and the Turkish centers’ fans who thought that the move will destroy whatever development and rhythm Asik established in his first season with the Rockets.
Fast forward to the Game no. 8 of the Rocket’s 2013-14 regular season and already issues with Asik’s co-existence with the newly acquired superstar center cropped up: Asik played a grand total of 4 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers and head coach Kevin McHale told media afterwards that it was about the match-ups and that he was forced to go small by Philly.
By Game no. 9, a 109-106 win vs. the New York Knicks, he logged in 0 minutes — apparently McHale and the front office’s reaction when the media outlets started picking up and reporting on Asik’s trade demands.
It looks like Asik will be getting his wish sooner than later. McHale did not play the Turkish big in its 122-111 win against the Denver Nuggets Saturday and reports out of Houston is that the front office is willing to give in to the trade demand and are already searching for Asik's potential destination.
Before the actual trade goes down, we’re pre-empting Daryl Morey and his moneyball ways and will suggest a few trades that could benefit Houston and other involved teams. As always via ESPN’s Trade Machine — where fiction and fun meet potential real trades:
Trade 1: Houston Rockets – New Orleans Pelicans Omer Asik For PF/SF Ryan Anderson
Why Should the Rockets Do It: They’ll be getting Ryan Anderson, who is a very nice fit with Dwight Howard and a very good player in the Rockets’ run-and-gun ways. Plus the 6-foot-8 stretch four also played with D12 in Orlando already and the pair actually made it all the way to the NBA Finals in 2009.
So imagine that successful Orlando team and add a superstar in James Harden. It just might work and they get real value from Asik, who’s a good player but is never going to fit alongside Howard.
Why Should the Pelicans Do It: On the surface, it appears that Anderson is a better fit for New Orleans than Asik. However, with the recent revelation that soon-to-be superstar Anthony Davis is most efficient as a power forward, acquiring a legit center in Asik will open allow the second year player to play his natural position.
Defensively, it’s also a scary proposition (for other teams). Asik was one of the best defensive players in the league last season and pairing him with a fast-improving defense of Davis and the Pelicans could very well have the best defensive frontcourt in the NBA if New Orleans pulls the trigger on this trade.
Trade 2: Houston Rockets – New Orleans Pelicans – Portland Trail Blazers – Toronto Raptors
Rockets Get PF/SF Ryan Anderson (from New Orleans)
Why Should the Rockets Do It – Same Reason as Trade 1
Blazers Get SG Eric Gordon (from New Orleans) and C Omer Asik (from Houston)
Why Should the Blazers Do It – While both Batum and Matthews are more than serviceable players, the Blazers need more depth in their big man rotation. The acquisition of Asik will assure that and will move Aldridge permanently to the four-spot, where he is more comfortable. Gordon is a better scorer than Batum and should share the scoring load with LMA and Damian Lillard.
Pelicans Get SF Rudy Gay (from Toronto) + 2014 1st Rounder (from Toronto) + 2014 1st Rounder (from Houston)
Why Should the Pelicans Do It – Giving up Gordon and Anderson for Rudy Gay might be too much. But in Gay, they get a legit scoring wing—better than Gordon. While Rudy has the more expensive contract, it’s a shorter 2-year dealt than Eric’s 3-year contract. First rounders from Toronto and Houston in 2014 sweetens the deal for New Orleans on this one. Two first-rounders is more valuable than winning now as Davis is not yet fully developed.
Raptors Get PF/SF Nicolas Batum (from Portland) and PG/SG Wesley Matthews (from Portland)
Why Should the Raptors Do It – The Gay experiment is not working in Toronto. In Batum, they get a versatile forward who can complement well with Jonas Valanciunas (their future); and in Matthews, they get a legit sixth man or even a starter alongside Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.
Comments about these potential exchanges? Go straight to the comments section and share us your thoughts and even suggest your own trades!