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Report: Rockets have moves ready for Asik/Lin trades, but want to keep them if they can’t get Carmelo or LeBron

Jun 21, 2014, 12:01 AM EDT

Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik

The Rockets used to be a team that tried to get by with inexpensive talent that overachieved, a moneyball sort of approach where talent evaluation was more important than going out and getting proven superstars via trade or free agency.

When that strategy failed somewhat miserably, Plan B kicked into full gear, which meant obtaining superstars at any and all cost.

James Harden and Dwight Howard were able to be obtained, but that still wasn’t enough to put the team into legitimate championship contention. One more star is needed, and there are potentially a couple on the market in LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, either of whom would be extremely intriguing alongside the other two in the Houston starting lineup.

For the Rockets to be able to offer even close to a max contract, however, they’ll need to move some existing pieces in order to create that space. Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin are the ones at the top of the list of who would need to go, and supposedly, Houston isn’t worried about being able to trade them without taking any salary back in return.

That’s the logical approach, obviously, because you don’t want to give up legitimate rotation players for nothing unless you know there’s some incoming talent on the horizon.

LeBron seems like a ridiculous long shot, however, and though Anthony’s situation is fluid, there’s no realistic combination of moves Houston can make that would enable the team to offer him a max contract in free agency.

The most interesting thing to note here is that the Rockets already have a potential team (or teams) lined up to unload Lin and Asik, should a high-caliber free agent like James or Anthony come calling. That itself is no small feat, and just further goes to show that Houston’s front office is among the elite at playing this game.

  1. sportsfan18 - Jun 21, 2014 at 12:59 AM

    Rockets Team field goal percentage this past season .472%

    Melo’s field goal percentage this past season .452%

    Melo does not play “D”… Neither does Harden.

    But, Harden shot lights out this season.

    Harden was tied for 3rd in the league WITH Kevin Durant and Lebron for most points per shot at 1.54 points per shot.

    The Rockets team point per shot average this past season was 1.34

    Melo’s point per shot average was only 1.29 this past season.

    So, Melo doesn’t play “D” and he would most definitely hurt their team offense, drag their team shooting down, a lot because he takes so many shots.

    Houston, Melo won’t help you on either end of the floor…

    And for that, you’re willing to pay him a LOT of money?


    • pudgalvin - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:29 AM

      I dunno, but that would be a fun team to watch.

      I’m not the biggest Melo fan, but I would be interested to watch him at this stage of his career with a legitimate team around him. I think it’s unfair to look at only last season and project that going forward. There’s a big difference in playing with J.R. Smith vs. James Harden. Dwight Howard v.s Tyson Chandler. Raymond Felton vs. any not terrible point guard. And the Melo doesn’t play d thing is a little much as well. Yes, he’s not Lebron, but if you put him in a decent system with other good defenders (probably not on the Rockets) and I think he would do just fine.

    • urodaddy07 - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      Agreed. Scoring is not Houston’s problem. Why do they think Melo is going put them over the hump? They do not need a another scorer in my mind, they need to go practice some D. I’m beginning to get sick of these team who just want to throw money around and buy big name players. Houston has got 2 quality big men, why give that up? The coach needs to find a way to make it work. For me Asik is a more complete offensive player than Dwight and Lin can score no doubt. So why trade them away for another pure scorer? Can you imagine how porous that defence will be with both Harden and Melo on the floor at the same time?

      • xLith - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:49 PM

        Asik more complete offensively then Howard? Have you ever watched Asik play? He consistently gets stripped and misses layups AT the rim. He’s a really good backup center but he’s not better then Howard at offense or defense.

      • pudgalvin - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        That might be the most insane thing I’ve ever read on here. I get it, nobody likes Howard, but come on. Asik can barely catch a basketball.

      • au1978 - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        Omer “The Brick” Asik vs. Howard who averaged almost 30 during the playoffs? Really??? Clearly you’ve been drinking and took the folks who thumbs upped you along.

  2. cantonb0und13 - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:07 AM

    If Rockets don’t get LeBron or Melo, then expect them to wait until 2016 for Durant.

    OKC lineup (if the owner wasn’t cheap): Westbrook, Harden, Durant, Ibaka, Adams.

    OKC current lineup: Westbrook, Jackson?, Durant, Ibaka, Perkins (yes, OKC still haven’t amnesty Perkins).

    OKC logic: Kendrick Perkins you the real MVP!

    • mikeflorioisaredskin - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:48 AM

      If the thunder didn’t trade harden they would have never got adams so perkins would still be the center.

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      Who cares what you think. You’re always wrong. Then you disappear like the coward you are.

      • mcmystery76 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        Umm his thought was you didn’t think your comment through, of which he is correct.

      • jimeejohnson - Jun 22, 2014 at 9:37 AM

        Hey loser CantonPeaBrain: the real CantonBound’s got a much better ratio of thumbs up to down, unlike you,who as usual, has been thumbed down BIG TIME! Everyone knows you’re a POS except other pieces of crap!

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 22, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        I’m supposed to believe 1 coward defending the other? You 2 are lucky I actually acknowledge you. You clowns talk trash all year, find out you’re wrong, then cowardly disappear. I have zero respect for you 2 cowards!

    • jimeejohnson - Jun 22, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      You’ve pissed off the ultimate punk loser: CantonPeaBrain! He’s mad, so you win, again! And as always, the New Yawk punk loser LOSES!

  3. greatmiamisportsmind - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:11 AM

    So they want to trade them on one hand but maybe keep them if they can’t get Carmelo or LeBron.

    That’s sort of like saying:
    I want to keep my wife if I can’t marry Kate Upton or Jessica Alba.

    • fanofthegame79 - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:01 AM

      And if you could pull it off, you would.

  4. dyn0myte - Jun 21, 2014 at 1:43 AM

    Move Asik and Lin to clear salary for James, right?

    – Lebrong

  5. campcouch - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:09 AM

    Lin is wondering why Houston even bothered signing him. They’ve been offering him up since he got there.

    • gpatrick15 - Jun 21, 2014 at 9:20 AM

      The whole world is wondering why they bothered signing him, especially with that poison pill. I like the Rockets GM. Morey does a great job with the resources he has available. But I do not feel sorry for him if he gets stuck with these contracts.

    • au1978 - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:07 PM

      They signed him b/c they were going to try to build a team around him, but then they lucked out and got Harden. Sucks for Lin, but that’s the way NBA business goes.

  6. lightskin350 - Jun 21, 2014 at 2:24 AM

    I would love to get Asik in Portland even if we had to take Lin. Houston and Portland did a similar deal so they could sign Howard last year.

    • bdachan12 - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:53 AM

      Pretty sure Blazers don’t have the cap space to absorb $17m.

      • bkbell3 - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:50 AM

        bdachan12 asik’s cap number is only about 8mil. for cap purposes and his salary is 15mil. So they would only have to absorb 8mil.

      • bdachan12 - Jun 21, 2014 at 8:03 PM

        1. I don’t think Blazers even have $8.4m in cap space.

        2. I’m pretty sure Houston will make any team that wants Asik for free to eat Jlin’s contract as well. That $17m cap hit. Unless they already have a definite taker for Lin I don’t let Asik go first.

  7. whitwarren - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:50 AM

    Forget Melo and Lebron, Houston. See what Yao is up to these days.

  8. bdachan12 - Jun 21, 2014 at 3:57 AM

    Rockets aren’t going any where until they get rid of McHale. Anyone who saw the last minute of Game 6 against Blazers has to realize this.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:38 AM

      He’s a double agent…

      The Thunder and the Mavs pay him to do things like that…

    • bballhistorian - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      100% agree bdachan12

  9. elcapitanfiscal - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:27 AM

    Asik to Dallas. Please

  10. lakerade - Jun 21, 2014 at 5:36 AM

    Lin to BKN and Asik to BOS, unless not.

  11. mikeflorioisaredskin - Jun 21, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    I have a hard time seeing two teams taking those contracts and sending nothing back so the rockets can clear space. Even if they did send those two guys somewhere they still wouldn’t be able to get a max player. Melo or lebron would have to get a lower deal or sign and trade..

  12. imakcds - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    well, I thought Dwight was supposed to be the main man, and that he signed with Houston because of the already in place ‘championship’ parts, namely Asik and Lin.
    The REALITY of the Dwightmare starting to set in, ya think???
    and don’t you think all this clamoring to bring in a superstar isn’t damaging Dwight’s already fragile ego???
    Dwight will NOT LIKE TAKING A BACKSEAT, and he will let you all know his displeasure,
    all the while maintaining that goofy smile and his ‘happy go lucky’ facade.

    • mcmystery76 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:55 PM

      You might have a point, but I’ve always viewed Dwight has someone who likes being called a “superstar”, but doesn’t like the pressure and expectations that come with the title. He would probably be ecstatic to play with a true alpha dog, since that clearly is not him.

  13. AZ Dem - Jun 22, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    Nobody’s taking Asik. Nobody’s taking Lin. Period. So, just stop thinking or talking about it.

    Both Asik and Lin have poison pill contracts. I don’t know the specifics, but it’s something, more or less, like they are due to receive $5M for 2014-15, but then it jumps to $15M for 2015-16. Their salaries are salary caps killers.

    • ewyorksockexchange - Jun 22, 2014 at 4:00 PM

      Asik and Lin both have contracts for 2014-15, but not beyond. I could see trading them both to a team like the sixers in addition to their current draft pick (25 overall) and a future pick to the sixers. That would give the sixers a solid backup pg and c while Noel and mcw develop next year, give the rockets enough space to chase either melo or lebron, and enable the sixers to package another first with their 3 and Thad to jump into the first two picks (to avoid having to decide between the injured embiid or a lesser but more healthy talent. The sixers have 33 mil in cap space for next year, and having only one year contracts would enable them to chase a big name FA in 2015. But I don’t know what the sixers would give back in return, and the deal isn’t likely to happen anyway. Regardless, is the whole situation makes you think the rockets should have unloaded asik when they had the leverage. There’s no way a team offers them anywhere near their asking price of two firsts at this point.

  14. yesser12 - Jun 23, 2014 at 3:02 AM

    No one should bail Hou out now. They can wait til trade deadline to get Asik or Lin makes no sense to help them now get LBJ or Melo when Asik and Lin will be available at deadline.

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