Potential Landing Spots of Omer Asik?

Rather than being the new "Twin Towers", on the offensive end, Howard and Asik are more like the NBA's version of Guildenstern and Rosencrantz.

Rather than being the new “Twin Towers”, on the offensive end, Howard and Asik are more like the NBA’s version of Guildenstern and Rosencrantz.

Omer Asik is rumoured to be seeking a trade again.  After acquiring Dwight Howard in the offseason, it was rumoured that Asik had initially requested a trade, due to the fact that he and Howard play the same position and have similar styles (stronger rebounding defenders who are inept on offense).  Asik has been benched early the last couple of games, but Rockets coach Kevin McHale has said it was more about match-ups than performance. 

"Why'd you sign another center?  Am I not good enough?"

“Why’d you sign another center? Am I not good enough?”

Though Asik and Howard do provide immense rebounding and perhaps the toughest defensive front court in the league, the fact that both are a liability on offense and the fact that neither has much of a mid-range game, means that on offense, both players need to stay close to the basket and that can stagnant the offense, especially since Houston runs a lot of isolation players for James Harden.  If Asik and Howard are close to the rim, their defenders can pick up Harden on the way to the basket and they clog up the lane for isolation plays.  If Asik and Howard step outside to clear the lane, their defenders don’t have to stay on them because neither can hit those shots consistently and, so, can double team Harden.  The Rockets, then, need a player with a strong mid-range jumper on the court with Howard.

Pau Gasol likely misses having Andrew Bynum around and could probably use anothr big man like Asik, but the Lakers have little to offer.

Pau Gasol likely misses having Andrew Bynum around and could probably use anothr big man like Asik, but the Lakers have little to offer.

Houston’s front court is not rumoured to have a deal in the works, so a deal is not imminent and may not happen for several months.  There are a number of teams who could use a player like Asik: namely the Lakers.  Pairing Asik up with Pau Gasol would provide the kind of offensive balance that is lacking with Asik and Howard, but the Lakers don’t have much to offer and likely want to keep their cap space available for the pending free-agent season.  Portland could use a center like Asik after losing J.J. Hickson, but the Trailblazers don’t have much in the way of trade bait.  The Thunder could also likely benefit from adding a player like Asik, but it seems unlikely that the Rockets would be interested in bolstering the front court of a team they will likely meet in the playoffs. 

A return to the Bulls could be ideal for both Houston and Chicago.

A return to the Bulls could be ideal for both Houston and Chicago.

With that in mind, Asik may very well end up in the east. A return to the Bulls might make sense as Carlos Boozer has been rumoured to be a candidate for the amnesty clause, and his offensive range would allow Houston to likely create better match-ups on offense with Dwight on the floor (though Dwight likely wouldn’t approve of adding ANOTHER player who is CLEARLY better on offense than Dwight).  The Knicks could use Asik right now, and Andrea Bargnani might actually be a good fit in Houston, but once Tyson Chandler returns, the Knicks would find themselves with the same rotation problems that Houston is currently dealing with.  A trade with Boston could work if the Celtics were to send Kris Humphries over, or even Gerald Wallace, but it might be unlikely that Houston would bite on that deal.  Philly has Even Turner and Spenser Hawes on the trading block, and could likely package up an interesting deal that could appeal to Houston, but Philly may not want to take back Asik’s contract.  The team that could use Asik the most is the one team nobody wants to help make better: Miami.  With a true center in place, the Heat would likely walk through the playoffs on their way to a third-straight NBA title.  I doubt Houston would be interesting in giving them a player that could help Miami accomplish that, unless it meant getting Chris Bosh back in return.

Chris Bosh's jumper could allow Houston to present other teams with an unanswerable match-up problem, but would the trade make Miami too good?

Chris Bosh’s jumper could allow Houston to present other teams with an unanswerable match-up problem, but would the trade make Miami too good?

Asik is not an untradeable player.  His contract is reasonable and his skill set is in high demand.  Houston’s best bet at this point is to wait things out, entertain offers, and, in the meantime, see if they can put together a rotation that actually allows them to keep both Howard and Asik.  The risk there, though, is that come playoff time, the match-up issues that might arise on the offensive end will be exploited by the seasoned coaches and more talented rosters.  For some teams, the addition of a player like Asik could mean the difference between making the playoffs, or going into the lottery.  He could also be the difference between a first-round exit and a trip to the NBA finals.  Houston will need to take their time here, and weight their options carefully.  Fans, on the other hand, will be waiting with baited anticipation to see where Asik, who is perhaps the biggest commodity on the trading block, will end up, because the answer to that question could determine who hoists up a banner at the end of the season. 

Comments

  1. Yes I would absolutely make this deal. Chicago never wanted to let him go, and never wanted to sign Carlos Boozer. After getting played by Lebron Shames, Chicago had to get a big man to protect young Derrick Rose. When Houston presented Asik with their offer sheet, Chicago was in a limbo. Houston was offering him starting money with a starting roster spot. Chicago had Boozer and Noah who were getting the starting minutes, so it would have been difficult to give Asik 25-28 minutes of floor time especially with increased quality of play from Taj Gibson. It was pretty clear at this point that Boozer’s contract was hindering Chicago’s ability to control their young talent. Chicago’s defensive scheme in recent years has been shut down the opposing teams best player, and let the rest of the team try and beat you. Adding a taller Asik at center, moving Noah(who prides himself on defense too!) to Power Forward whould open up more man to man coverages. This would certainly push them further into the playoffs, as the higher seed teams(aka Miama), have multiple All-stars, which is difficult for chicago’s current “shut down one player” approach. Althrough Asiks presence will hinder Rose’s ability to drive the lane, much like Harden’s problem in Houston. Chicago could address this need to spread the floor via free agency next year as the PF position is stacked. Who knows, with the decline of Dallas in recent years, most notably last year, when they failed to reach the playoffs, maybe they can get Dirk to come play for a championship in chi-town. Pau Gasol is a free agent next year, who may fit but chicago may not be able to offer the kind of minutes he requires. And i can’t believe i am saying this(“God, earmuffs!”), but New York can terminate Bargnani’s contract at seasons end, maybe he can grow a dick for a season or two in chicago.

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