Omer Asik and the Houston Rockets will have to work out their differences, because it doesn’t appear the disgruntled center is going anywhere for now.
The Rockets are expected to keep Asik through the Feb. 20 trade deadline, Ken Berger of CBSSports reports. That means a deal with the Boston Celtics that would have sent Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee and a draft pick to Houston that reportedly was imminent last month is even less likely to happen — if it ever was more than smoke and mirrors.
“[Houston] ramped up its efforts to create a market for Asik last month because it believed that was the most realistic window to get a deal done,” Berger writes. “Now, Houston is caught in a bit of a no-man’s land. ‘Teams that are tanking don’t want him to make them better, and winning teams want to steal him,’ one rival GM said. Plus, teams with [cap] room in 2015, when Asik will be a free agent, can sign him anyway — to a more reasonable contract.”
Asik’s salary-cap hit for each of the next two years is $8.4 million, but he’ll actually receive a $15 million balloon payout in 2014-15. The Rockets worked that increase into Asik’s contract to prevent the Chicago Bulls from matching the offer to the restricted free agent in 2012. The ploy worked, though maybe a little too well, because now no other team wants to acquire Asik with that poison pill on the back end of his deal.
Asik, 27, is averaging 4.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game this season. He has not played since Dec. 2 because of conflicts with the team over his use and playing time, although the Rockets say Asik also has a thigh injury.