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Rockets GM says Omer Asik likely to remain with team through the end of his contract next season

Jan 26, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

Omer Asik Getty Images

There was a bit of internal drama with the Rockets this season, and it began with the team’s offseason acquisition of Dwight Howard in free agency.

In a nice change of pace, Howard wasn’t the cause of it this time. But his presence didn’t sit well with the team’s resident big man Omer Asik, who immediately feared a diminished role was in his future with a player of Howard’s magnitude now in place, and rightfully ahead of him on the team’s depth chart in terms of minutes distribution.

Asik immediately asked to be dealt, but Houston is smarter than that. The team wasn’t going to let a talent like Asik go for below market value, and given the fact that the Rockets issued a self-imposed deadline for when they’d like a deal to get done, the offers that came in were predictably unacceptable.

So, what now? According to Rockets GM Daryl Morey, Asik is likely to be with the team not just through the end of this season, but through the end of his current contract, which would mean an additional year in Houston.

From Ben DuBose of (via HoopsHype):

“We pushed to trade Omer in December,” said Morey. “We felt we had to make a fair and aggressive effort to do that. Obviously, he’d prefer to be a starter.

“At this point, Omer is very likely going to be here until the end of his contract at the end of next season, not this season. The window to trade him was [in December], and teams weren’t aggressive enough to get him, so we’re excited about him being a part of our future.”

Asik is under contract at $8.3 million per year for this one and the next — not exactly an inexpensive number, but below what productive NBA big men get paid, which is typically in the $11 million-plus range per season.

Asik hasn’t played since Dec. 2 and is still dealing with a knee injury, but Houston is targeting the end of the month for his return. While the team’s tone has wisely changed now surrounding Asik, if he performs well once he’s back, his value could increase and the Rockets will have plenty of opportunities at the trade deadline and in the days leading up to the draft to trade him at that time — if a deal came along that actually made some sense.

  1. zackd2 - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    Clubhouse cancer.

    • chadley71 - Jan 27, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      clubhouse cancer = Dwight Howard not Omer Asik

      • zackd2 - Jan 27, 2014 at 6:38 PM

        Lol what’s the difference?

  2. money2long - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    i feel morey is playing his cards. he wants assets, and he wants to trade him.

    “The window to trade him was [in December], and teams weren’t aggressive enough to get him, so we’re excited about him being a part of our future.”

    yeah, hmm, sounds like the double message here is, GIVE ME BETTER TRADES. and then, saying you are excited about him being part of your future kind of sounds like another way of trying to convey to other owners of the rockets’ feelings of ‘we won’t be mad if we kept him so if we don’t see what we like just know we will be excited that he’s still around.’

    he’s playing mind games i feel. i think he is playing chess. he want’s to find a deal.

  3. Professor Fate - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    I must disagree with the assertion that Howard’s acquisition by the Rockets wasn’t the cause of Asik’s trade demand. It was, in fact, the direct cause of it. Perhaps the intent was to say that this episode of drama wasn’t directly caused by yet another of Howard’s many poorly thought out actions, but rather was the fallout of Morey signing Howard. The net result is that, in the end, having Howard on your team causes internal frictions whether or not it is Howard himself creating the manufactured drama.

  4. JMClarkent - Jan 26, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    No way this is true, they are just (wisely) attempting to deal from a position of strength rather than weakness.

    • spursareold - Jan 27, 2014 at 10:47 AM

      No, it’s true. The Rockets did a little creative accounting to get him on board, but it’s coming back to bite them in the @ss. $8.3 is his cap figure, not his salary for next year. His deal is back loaded at $15M for next year, and nobody wants to touch him for that figure. He’s a banger type and defender, and that’s pretty much IT.

  5. censoredpost - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    No easier sale than to a salesman ehh Mr Morey? Unfortunately Asik has put you in a position to accept a little lessey. Free OMER!!

  6. kb2408 - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    The Rockets are a joke. Instead of gettting the best deal they can for Asik they choose to hold on to him and get nothing. He does not want to be there and that is likely not going to change. Morey seems to think the Rockets have time to wait until the perfect deal comes along, but that is not true. Dwight is not going to get any better than he is right now. In fact, the argument can be made that he is actually on the decline. Thus, the time to go all out for a title run is now for Houston. Maybe Morey isn’t paying attention to the teams in Oakland and Oklahoma. The Warriors and Thunder are young and getting better. And in the case of the Thunder, Houston will be looking up at them for as long as Durant and Westbrook are there. Morey has over-valued Asik and the clock is ticking on the Rockets. Asik is a decent center but other teams aren’t going to give the Rockets what they’re asking for him.

    • southsidegroovin281 - Jan 27, 2014 at 2:22 AM

      Houston is ranked as the 4th youngest team in the league. You make a point for OKC. But why would the Rockets be worried abt the Warriors when they run them like a pimp does a prostitute? Don’t think for one second that Morey won’t flip Asik before that contract is done with. It is such things as smoke signals.

  7. chiadam - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:52 PM

    So, no Rocky / Apollo Creed beach hug between Asik and Joakim Noah anytime soon?

  8. savvybynature - Jan 26, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    If true, that’s great news for other Western Conference contenders. That’s a big “if,” though, and I’d expect him to be traded during the draft at the latest.

  9. ningenito78 - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:23 AM

    And he’ll be traded by the end of the month.

  10. 00maltliquor - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:57 AM

    Just tryna re-gain the leverage they lost. That or they really want to keep their Dwight Howard Lower Back Insurance Policy.


  11. pharohislife - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:59 AM

    Should have taken Boston’s offer in December for Brandon Bass and Courtney Lee. When Lee was traded to the Grizzlies the team got better instantly. He adds the shooter they’ve lacked all season.
    Lee’s shooting numbers are at a career high this year, plus he’s played with the Rockets before, and he and Brandon Bass have both played with Dwight in Orlando.

  12. cruzan80 - Jan 27, 2014 at 7:49 AM

    Cavaliers Get:
    Omer Asik

    Rockets Gets:
    Andrea Bargnani
    Draft pick from Knicks or Cavaliers

    Knicks Get:
    Luol Deng

    Cavaliers do this because:
    They have a star SF who will be a FA at seasons end & they don’t have a Center.

    Rockets does this because:
    They don’t use Asik at all & they could use a “stretch 4” like Bargnani. With excellent driving guards like Harden & Lin, he can become very valuable to them in that system. Think Rashad Lewis back in Orlando.

    Knicks does this because:
    Gothom finally gets a “Robin” for their “Batman”. I can’t think of another player who would fit that role better. Great defender & does not need the ball to be productive on offense.

    • bhunter1995 - Jan 27, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      The Knicks have no picks first of all, second why would the rockets want Bargnani when they alreasy have a young Terrence Jones who can stretch the four spot and whom is developing with every game. What the Rockets need is another guy who can score with the ball in his hands who can come off the bench, someone like Jamal Crawford (not him of course but someone like him).

      • cruzan80 - Jan 27, 2014 at 11:50 AM

        It would be the Knicks 2016 pick first of all & dont the rockets have about four players (Lin, Harden, Garcia, Brooks) that are basically trigger happy guards??? Terrence Jones would remain the starter & Bargnani would come off the bench….they dont have anyone else like Terrence Jones on the roster.

  13. bknowledge - Jan 27, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    I still think the best deal is Asik for Spencer Hawes.
    Or some deal involving a third team that brings Hawes to Houston.
    Hawes is a great fit for Houston, a stretch 4 that can also be the back up center.

    There are a lot of teams Asik could start for:
    NO (w Davis as pf)
    San Antonio

    as a fan in the NYC area, I’d rather have Asik than Tyson Chandler (Chandler is little bit better but 4 years older)…

    Asik is a defensive presence in the middle…Look at what Tyson did for Mavs, what Bogut has added to Golden State…Celtics won the championship with Kendrick Perkins at center.

    • spursareold - Jan 27, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      Sorry, Asik doesn’t start for the Spurs, unless you mean temporarily while Tiago is out with his shoulder.

      • 00maltliquor - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:04 PM

        You’re nuts. Asik takes Tiago’s lunch money.

      • spursareold - Jan 27, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        Tiago was the 4th best defensive big in FG% at the rim when he went down with the shoulder sprain, AND he actually has a varied and fundamentally sound offensive game, being able to actually catch the ball, unlike stone hands Asik.

      • unxpexted1 - Jan 27, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        well asik isn’t american so he definitely has a chance to start.

      • rohlo - Jan 27, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        tiago sucks!!! guy is soft! he was exposed in finals last year!!

    • biasedhomer - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      Why would the Sixers want Asik for $15M when they clearly are not going anywhere next season?

      And just cuz he can start for some teams, doesn’t mean those teams would pay the ridiculous asking price that the Rockets want:

      Wizards: don’t need, have Gortat
      Cavs: possible destination
      Philly: already discussed why they don’t need him
      Boston: tried to get him, but their GM won’t part with a 1st rounder
      Brooklyn: nothing to offer
      Miami: won’t take on the salary
      Milwaukee: committed to Sanders at Center
      Toronto: Like the Bucks, have a young, higher ceiling player that they want at center
      Dallas: possible destination
      Denver: possible destination
      Clippers: Have Jordan
      Lakers: possible destination
      NO: possible destination
      OKC: won’t take on that salary
      Phoenix: No need, they have Plumlee and Len
      Portland: could use him, but Lopez is doing just fine so they won’t pay anything close to what Houston wants
      San Antonio: have Splitter

      So out of your list, only 5 teams seem like trade partners, and none of those teams are going to offer a young, high upside player and/or a 1st round pick for Asik in the current situation (where Houston has close to 0 leverage).

      • scalfor3 - Jan 28, 2014 at 4:58 PM

        I wouldn’t be so sure that the sixers aren’t “going anywhere” next season. They’ll likely be adding two picks from this years lottery, plus Nerlens Noel, to a young core that already has MCW. That could be enough to make the playoffs in the east.

        Or so I hope, as a Celtics fan.

  14. rohlo - Jan 27, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    tiago being 4th in def fg % hasnt done anything for the spurs…they are beating up the have nots and cant beat good teams in the west … they have 1 or 2 wins against the best teams in the west this year and got handled by the heat too!!

  15. crazylegs4 - Jan 27, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    If I were Houston, I’d keep Asik and trade Howard for Deron Williams. Brooklyn wanted him anyway and the Rockets need leadership at point guard. Asik would be more than adequate as the Rockets center under this scenario. With Williams in charge, Asik would benefit from pick and roll. Asik was excellent during last season and even better in the playoffs. Plus, he has high basketball IQ and is poised. In the playoffs, he was fouled as a strategy. Asik stepped up to the line and hit the free throws. Now that Houston has seen how Howard fits, he is not a slam dunk better than Asik. His foul shooting is a big liability and his attitude may be a problem sooner than later. Let him hang out with JayZ. They will be good buds and Houston will be a more efficient and successful team. Unless Williams is damaged goods a la Dwayne Wade, the trade would be Williams and Asik for Howard. I’d make that deal tomorrow!

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