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Rockets GM says Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik will stay in Houston

Jul 14, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

Houston Rockets Introduce Dwight Howard Getty Images

The Rockets introduced Dwight Howard on Saturday, and while the free agent big man promised he’d keep on smiling on his way to trying to help his new team win a title, he’s also got some work to do to keep his teammates similarly engaged.

Throughout the process, there had been rumblings in Houston that even after securing Howard’s services, the Rockets may not be done tinkering with the roster.

The team was said to be working to trade Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, not necessarily due to their skill sets not being a match to play alongside Howard, but because their contracts don’t allow for a great deal of flexibility under the league’s new collective bargaining agreement.

At the introductory press conference for Howard, however, Rockets GM Daryl Morey said that for now he’s going to keep things as is from a roster standpoint.

“The reality is James (Harden) and Dwight (Howard) want to play with Jeremy and Omer,” Morey said, via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle “I’ve been kicked down to assistant GM. They’re going to be here.”

Asik was the one that wanted to leave once he heard the initial report that Howard was on his way, likely due to feeling as though he’d be relegated to a reduced role with what Howard can provide on both ends of the floor. Howard seemed sensitive to this, and is going to do his best to try to make his new teammate feel as though he’s an important part of the plan.

“Omer might not really see the total big picture right now, and I totally understand,” Howard said, also via the Houston Chronicle. “He’s a young guy and he wants to really be respected. I would tell him when I see him, ‘You’ve done a great job on this team. I’m going to help you and this team get better.’ He’s a big piece to us winning a championship if we’re going to make that run.”

It’s early, but the new setting in Houston is already having a positive affect on Howard, at least in terms of his ability to understand his role, the situation, and what’s going on around him. It’s a huge shift from the tone-deaf version of Howard we’ve seen for the better part of the last two seasons.

“I’m going to do whatever I can to make those guys’ lives better,” Howard said. “I realize how much they mean to this team.”

  1. dyn0myte - Jul 14, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Nice suit Dwight.
    But I’m thinking maybe purple isn’t your color.

    • apkyletexas - Jul 14, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      Without Dwight, your team wouldn’t have even gotten that 8th playoff spot. You would have been where you are going to be next season – battling with Sacramento and New Orleans for last place in the West.

      Might as well get used to it.

      • dyn0myte - Jul 14, 2013 at 9:51 PM

        Actually, I believe the Lakers were the 7th seed in the west.
        They moved ahead of the Rockets by virtue of a tie breaker.

        Injuries and attitude prevented him from playing like the real D12
        Maybe closer to D9 or D10,
        but he did contribute to what little success the Lakers had last year.

        I hope Houston gets the whole Dwight
        and that the Lakers still have a little of their magic left.

  2. casualcommenter - Jul 14, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    I personally would have thought an Omer Asik for Ryan Anderson trade would be mutually beneficial for the Pelicans and Rockets.

    The Pelicans would have been getting a very good defensive center who would allow Anthony Davis to play power forward and not have to try to match-up against physically stronger centers like Hibbert and Gasol. Davis is working on bulking up, but it’s going to take a couple of years for him to fill out. Until then, the Pelicans need a defensive anchor at the 5.

    Meanwhile, the Rockets would have been getting a very good stretch power forward who would give Howard, Harden, Parsons, and Lin breathing room in the paint on offense and help out with rebounding on defense. A Lin-Harden-Parsons-Andersen-Howard lineup would have four good to great 3-point shooters surrounding Dwight, which was the setup that worked best for Dwight in Orlando.

    I guess it wasn’t meant to be…

    • casualcommenter - Jul 14, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      Still, I think Dwight and Asik can work out.

      There are 48 minutes per game. Dwight can log 33 minutes at center on offense, while Asik logs 15 minutes at center on offense.

      In addition, Asik can spend 10 more minutes on the floor as the power forward on offense. Asik isn’t a good jump shooter, so the offense would struggle to generate points in the paint due to spacing issues, but this would only be 10 minutes per game, and the unit should be dominant defensively, particularly when it comes to rebounding. Dwight could guard power forwards during this stretch on defense due to great speed.

      Otherwise, if Dwight gets hurt or gets into foul trouble, the Rockets would have the best backup center in the NBA.

      • lhollis74 - Jul 14, 2013 at 3:49 PM

        Don’t be foolish, it’s a business decision for asik. If he only plays 15 min a game his scoring/rebounding numbers will dive, and his next contract will be a backups salary not a starters pay. You would have to be a liar or financially stupid to not understand his position. It’s simple, what can he do in 32 min on the court? Now you’re asking him to play 16? Coupled with the fact that the money he can and will command for his next contract is directly reliant on per game production, not per minute, but per game. If i were him I would want to bolt to be a starter somewhere else too. Asik knows the odds of winning a title are low, have you seen the nba landscape? You think the rockets will best OKC, CLIPPERS, MEMPHIS or SAN ANTONIO? If you cant win, may as well get paid, hell, D12 may have been thinking the same thing,lol

      • kellistreeter - Jul 14, 2013 at 10:07 PM

        remember when Miami back in 2004-2005 season tried to play Shaq and Alonzo Mourning together it didn’t work then and it won’t work now. You have 2 guys (Howard) and (Asik) that are CENTERS neither one can play power forward, neither one can shoot outside of five feet from the basket and neither one have the quickness to defend outside of the paint. So the two playing together would not work.

    • Abel Ramírez - Jul 14, 2013 at 3:43 PM

      That trade wouldn’t work for the Pelicans. They need Anderson’s 3pt shooting to open things up for their guards and Davis. With Tyreke Evans and a shaky SF rotation there, they don’t have enough reliable perimeter shooting without Anderson. They would improve on defense and get worse on offense.

    • ddarqwon - Jul 14, 2013 at 6:09 PM

      The consensus has been that although they have similar salary cap impact, Asik has far greater market value than does Anderson.

      Furthermore, as Morey tells it, keeping Asik at this point provides greater value to the team than whatever benefit Anderson would bring.

    • boroqcat - Jul 16, 2013 at 8:09 AM

      The two issues with trading for Anderson straight up are:
      1. Trading a starting 5 for a 4 who couldn’t stay in the first unit on a bad team with a thin front court.
      2. The Rockets aren’t trying to sign temperamental D12’s ghosts of Christmas’ past to haunt him.
      3. Most importantly, while a straight up trade can be deemed fair it’s not a winning trade for the Rockets. There’s no way Morey moves Asik without Lin in a handcuff. They both need to go (and Lin much more so than Asik) to create the flexibility needed to address the remaining roster holes/issues.

      The Rockets need an impact 1/ combo guard and a starter quality 4 to get out of the 2nd round. As of now, they haven’t significantly increased their playoff run depth from a year ago.

  3. Jorge Lancerio - Jul 14, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Dwight needs help in the paint. Ideally that help would be able to shoot, but it might not be so bad if they can surround the two with shooters.

    • 3xchamps - Jul 14, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      theres no way at all you can play 2 centers with limited offensive skills, at the same time

      • adoombray - Jul 14, 2013 at 11:08 PM

        This. Asik is 7 feet tall and can’t score at all. Plus, If you actually watched Houston play (and they were lots of fun to watch last year too, Harden is the real deal) you’d realize they play a heavily motion based offense and their 4 needs to be able to hit 3 pointers (which is why Thomas Robinson was gone as quickly as he arrived / he was a “systematic non-fit” as Brad Childress once said). Josh Smith woulda been a great fit, Ryan Anderson would be great too, but there’s a guy named Greg Smith on the Rockets who was averaging 8.8 a game down the stretch and is a career 62% shooter who will be fine at a fraction of the cap that the big names would have cost. Besides, with Harden/Parsons/Lin and Dwight as a roll man getting 10-20 there’s only so much net to go around

      • davidly - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:31 AM

        Fanboys have no idea what they are talking about, make generalized assessments based on flawed predictors, and completely ignore what NBA level players are capable of when you surround them with huge upgrades in talent.

        Will the chemistry work out? Remains to be seen. But this team has got talent going both ways and a coach with experience on how to use and develop it.

        As to the two players in question: as a tandem, they’d be playing primarily for their defensive and rebounding skills, respectively; but if you gonna describe Howard’s offensive skills as limited, then please give me more players with limited offensive skills and multiple DPotY awards and I’d be happy.

        Think Luc Longley and Dennis Rodman. I know Asik is no Worm, but Longley was no D12 either. And it’s not like the Rockets have their sites set on 72-10. Houston fans are not Fakers. They aren’t going to obsess about winning it all immediately. They’ll be more like San Antonio, happy to be winning the vast majority at home.

        And why not? Is it not fun to watch your team win? If not winning championships was a key to failure, then there’d be thirty teams looking for a new home right now.

        At any rate, if they find a deal for an upgrade so be it, but they have until Feb to get a solid look at how this will work out. My bet is that they find themselves making the conference finals interesting. The question is, who’s gonna be their with ’em. Book it.

      • boroqcat - Jul 16, 2013 at 8:18 AM

        Cosign x 10 3x and adoom.

        Dwight+Asik= no lane. Without the lane, there’s no spacing to collapse defenses for the kick or the dump pass as the opposing team’s rim protectors will both be in position to hedge/rotate off of Dwight or Asik knowing that their counterpart is right behind them on the other side of the key to stop the dump pass to their man.

        There’ll only be so much punishment Harden will be physically capable/willing to endure for two free throws. And if they have to suit up Lin, can you imagine how many more balls he’s going to jump in the air and lateral to the defense with two bigs in his face on every drive?!

        No haps.

  4. mrlaloosh - Jul 14, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    Houston, you have a problem. Howard will ruin the franchise. Biggest free agent blunder in years. Memphis, San Antonio, Dallas. Houston will fight New Orleans for the basement of the Southwest. Book it.

    • 3xchamps - Jul 14, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      those are the only teams in the division dude. whos gonna win it and is there record gonna be 23-59?

    • adoombray - Jul 14, 2013 at 11:16 PM

      They were already a playoff team without Dwight. All Howard needs to do is D up (something he did extremely well even last season during his “down year”) and let Harden run the show.

      • thejav21 - Jul 15, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        That’s what they said in LA, insert Kobe where you put Harden

    • boroqcat - Jul 16, 2013 at 8:34 AM

      What many fail to realize is, quiet as kept, Howard is on a 2 year probation. No one seems to realize that he was acquired for cash, only. No assets (any that mattered, anyway) were divested to acquire him. If he doesn’t pan out in 6-30 months, Morey can easily gut some other team’s roster to his money ball delight and reload with quality assets and draft picks all long before Harden’s prime.

      For instance, if Bynum flames out in Cleveland, Morey can run at Jack/Thompson-Bennett/Varejao-Zeller and a pick or two there. They can go McCollum/Aldridge for Dwight/Lin and picks. And that’s just the 1st two that come to mind. Plenty of talent around the league to poach if he doesn’t work and if I’m seeing it I know Morey is.

  5. rabbi187 - Jul 14, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    @ mrlaloosh
    “Houston you have a problem.” Original. Good stuff. Only thing worse than your lame comment was your bone headed prediction…

  6. losanginsight - Jul 14, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    De Ja Vu

  7. cmart0907 - Jul 14, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Just trade Asik while his stock is high he already said he have no intentions of playing next to Dwight. Trade for a quality point guard and use a cheap atheletic power forward like Terrence Jones to start next to him like 25-30 mins a night. Asik nor Howard can shoot a 10ft jumper. Get a shooter p.f i.e Ryan Anderson so they can stretch the floor.

  8. 3xchamps - Jul 14, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Id ask to be traded also if i was Asik. He just signed last year a 3yr 25 mill contract to be the starter. Hes a quality starting big man center. He’d fit real well with OKC, GS, or even PORT.

  9. saint1997 - Jul 14, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Stupid. Trade Omer for a quality 4 (maybe Millsap when he becomes eligible) and then just let Pat Beverley start at PG

  10. kanemoney - Jul 14, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    I know a lot of people love to hate on Lin. If they can get him to be an average PG in the league, I think that’s all they need. The inside out of Howard, the cutting of Harden and the floor spacing of their shooters should make him serviceable. Plus the Far East loves Lin. Great business decision.

    • boroqcat - Jul 16, 2013 at 8:47 AM

      Do you hear yourself, pay a guy $25M in the hopes that he becomes serviceable? That’s like reeing up Royce White hoping that he finally does his job. Lin can become a competent 1 in this league. However it will not happen until he is playing behind one of them. He needs to watch how an offense is run, how to play within yourself, how to make a play v force the issue, etc. Kinda like Collison: absolutely killed his 1st season behind CP3 and has floundered since. Guys show a little flash and teams want to hand them the reigns. Bledsoe is ready, but he’s also had the benefit of several years of practice, and contending for a spot in the rotation, and receiving first flight mentoring from two of the best 1s of the past decade. Lin needs the pressure of running an offense off his shoulders to grow. The Rockets don’t have the luxury of paying duds when there are better options available for that price or cheaper. McGrady can be signed for $100k to ride Yao’s coat tails as a Rockets “brand ambassador” if it’s about marketing.

      Paying Lin $25M to muck up the offense is not good business; in any country.

  11. daveoo - Jul 14, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    Jeremy who? Talk about being over rated.

  12. clickablecontent - Jul 14, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    Wait wait wait. DWIGHT HOWARD is preaching the big picture? To a playoff team he’s new to? Dwight Howard?

    • davidly - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:35 AM

      Not sure what you’re getting at, but apparently everybody likes it.

  13. bshann - Jul 15, 2013 at 12:35 AM

    I’ll go out on a limb: there’s a snowball’s chance in hell Asik is on the roster past february. If Dwight couldn’t make it work with Gortat & Pau, how will he mesh with a far less skilled player in Houston (not to mention the dual free throw woes). Trade Asik: here’s three good landing spots for him:

  14. davidly - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:26 AM

    Considering that they just improved a pretty good, young team immensely, it’s smart for the GM to say what he did and to be a little patient.

    They got time to think about trades, it’s not really an urgency. My guess is that come January, the Heat would give up Bosh for Asik straight up. And it would solidify both teams.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:43 AM

      Uh, wut? Forget that the cap mechanics don’t allow for that trade to go through, do you really think Miami is going to throw away one of their big three for a one-way center right before LeBron can opt out and leave them? Bosh’s skill set is also pretty integral to what they do offensively – adding a guy who can’t score more that two feet from the basket for 35 minutes a night completely ruins that.

      • davidly - Jul 15, 2013 at 7:06 AM

        Yeah, your right about the cap issues, which I hadn’t considered. I don’t completely agree about the importance of CB’s skill set though. I think what Asik gave them in the paint would more than make up for it; that is, Miami’s one weakness, after all.

        But like you said, considering the salary problem, it’s not likely to happen.

      • sameister - Jul 15, 2013 at 12:59 PM

        Miami still needs a big center especially against teams like Indiana. They almost lost because they had no answer to Hibbert. If they can release Lin and Asik together, there might be a way out of the salary cap problem. Maybe Asik to Miami and Lin to another team who will let go of a decent power forward to Miami. Chris Bosh is good but we all know that LeBron is the man in Miami. Sooner or later they will have to break up the big three because of salary cap problem anyway. Might as well be sooner.

  15. xeno75 - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:45 AM

    So the offers they got so far are not satisfying and they hope for more…

  16. thejav21 - Jul 15, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Funny Dwight makes this comment, “I’m going to help you and this team get better.’ Isn’t that what Kobe was trying to tell him and he was sooooo devistated and hurt by this comment? He’s all talk and no go, can’t eait to see when things aren’t going right and then who he’ll start to blame.

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