The fact that the Houston Rockets decided to ignore Omer Asik and his pleas to be traded after the arrival of a player who makes him most likely plays most of his minutes coming off the bench. Despite the willingness to make it work, the conception might fail, which will make Asik once more someone who could end up being traded.
The idea, at the moment, is for Asik to be either the center coming off the bench or in somewhat of twin tower constellation, which both Daryl Morey and Kevin McHale have talked about quite a bit since Dwight Howard signed with the team.
While Asik can get things done on offense (averaging 10.1 points per game), but his main value is rebounding (11.7 per game) and the ability to defend the paint. He isn’t that different from Howard, offering little to no range, which means putting them on the court together might not be something we’ll see too much from the Rockets despite the claims from the brass.
So if Asik is the man to lead the second unit and be their defensive anchor, something the Rockets sorely missed last season, he might not get too many opportunities to play big minutes. He averaged 30 minutes a game last season, and being the main backup to Howard won’t bring him anywhere near that number.
The deciding factor as to whether or not Asik will be somehow put on the trading block (he’s making $8.3 million in each of the next two seasons, but he’ll actually be paid a lot more in the way the Rockets have split his salary when he enters his third season) is going to be the record. An unhappy Asik won’t be moved as long as the Rockets are doing well, and looking like a team that’s going to make some noise in the West.
Asik is a starting center on most NBA teams, so despite his rather hefty cap number and even bigger salary, there will be plenty of teams trying to land him next season if the Rockets actually make him available, which also means that the first season of their Dwight Howard project isn’t going too well.