The Houston Rockets are lucky to have two of the best centers in the NBA in Dwight Howard and Omer Asik, but unfortunately a lack of playing time and chemistry has the Turkish-born Asik once again asking for a trade.
A starter in all 82 of Houston’s games last season, Asik was reasonably disgruntled when Houston signed Howard away from the L.A. Lakers over the summer, and reports surfaced that he had asked for a ticket out of town.
Snapping his NBA-best 239 consecutive games played streak with a DNP in the Rockets 109-106 victory over the New York Knicks on Thursday, Asik reportedly reiterated his trade request some time in the last three days, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Head coach Kevin McHale said before the season began he wasn't exactly sure how he would utilize his big men, and thus far Asik’s production has significantly dropped off to the tune of 5.0 points and 7.2 rebounds in nine games this year.
But the Rockets are not working on any trades, so Asik may have to wait a couple more months until a sensible offer crosses Houston’s way. Asik is also owed more than $20 million through 2015, a number that could scare away trade partners hoarding cap space.
The Rockets have gone 6-4 through the first 10 games, and while the offense is humming at 107.5 points per game the Rockets are 27th in the NBA in defense, something Howard’s presence was supposed solve immediately.
One of the few players in the league to average a double-double with 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game last season, there’s no denying Asik could help a number of teams not only looking for size but also some offensive skills in the front court. However, with Asik at center last year the Rockets finished 28th with 102.5 points allowed per game.
All For Love
Several teams are already looking for deals not only to make a big playoff push this season, but to assure their superstars they intend to compete for a championship now or in the near future, e.g. the Knicks with Carmelo Anthony.
In the same vein the Minnesota Timberwolves have made athletic forward Derrick Williams and Russian point guard Alexey Shved available for trades, hoping to keep Kevin Love happy, as reported by Yahoo! Sports.
On a blistering pace for an MVP-caliber season averaging 27.1 points and 14.2 rebounds, Love can forgo the final year of his contract in 2015 and become a free agent. The Wolves last made the playoffs in 2004 with Kevin Garnett, reaching the West finals and falling to the Lakers, 4-2.
Since then, the Wolves have been a perennial lottery team, but have made several steps in the right direction with the hiring of head coach Rick Adelman, and point guard Ricky Rubio blossoming into one of the best assist men in the NBA.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft, Williams improved to 12 points and 5.5 rebounds in his second season, but his shooting numbers have never gone higher than 43 percent.
The 24-year-old Shved came over from CSKA Moscow and appeared in 77 games last year, filling in for much of last year while Rubio recovered from an ACL tear.
No Tanking Here
The Philadelphia 76ers hot start can be attributed to many factors, but one of them has to include the hot shooting of swingman Evan Turner. The Sixers were expected to trudge through this season, and hope for a top-three draft pick with lots of speculation regarding tanking.
But Turner is averaging a team-high 23 points with 6.3 rebounds per game while shooting at a career-high 49 percent clip, and the 5-4 Sixers own first place in the Atlantic Division.
Turner was the No.2 pick in the 2010 Draft, but was deemed a bust by many with inconsistent production and Philadelphia failing to rise up the East. Philadelphia decided not to negotiate a contract extension with the soon to be free agent Turner, and now they could parlay his surge into a sell-high situation.
A possible trade of Turner for aging Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn Marion was mentioned by Fox Sports earlier this week, and could be an ideal move for both squads. The Mavericks would get an infusion of youth to pair with Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis, while the Sixers get back a veteran for a very young locker room with another expiring contract and draft pick.
The report stresses Dallas and Philadelphia have not actually spoken about such a deal, but Turner will remain in the middle of trade rumors right up until the deadline in February.