In the never ending rumor circus around the Portland Trail Blazers looking for a big man while the Houston Rockets are trying to clear some cap space by trading away Omer Asik (among others), there might be a connection that’s already been tapped once this offseason.
It wasn’t too long ago that the Blazers acquired Thomas Robinson and his rookie deal from the Rockets in exchange for rights to two European players. Now, if the Rockets do actually get Dwight Howard, they might trade and initiate another trade with the Blazers, this time sending Asik to Portland.
While Asik comes with quite a big salary ($8.37 million for each of the next two seasons on the books), the Blazers should have enough cap space to add both him and Robinson without giving up anything more than late draft picks and more rights to European players (if they have any left).
Asik is more than just someone to get because the Blazers must find a center. Asik is a double-double player on the rise, who needs to develop a post more or two to become quite the offensive threat. He averaged 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds last season, and is obviously a better option than J.J. Hickson, who was part of one of the worst defenses in the NBA last season.
If the Blazers do have a cap-space problem regarding Asik, they can always do a sign& trade on Hickson, and the fact that both players have the same agent might come in handy. Hickson brings offense, but isn’t more than a backup for most teams, especially at 6’9 and not being a serious option for a starting center. Asik, on the other hand, is the real deal, and with the right kind of development work, including on his free throw shooting (to avoid hack-a-Asik tactics), has the chance to become a leading big-man in the NBA very soon.