They gave it shot. It didn’t work. Now, its time to move on.
It was unlikely that Omer Asik and Dwight Howard would be able to co-exist on the Rockets. They are two guys that do the same things, only Howard does them at a much higher level. Since they have the same strengths and weaknesses you can’t play them together. Kevin McHale tried.
Asik and Howard started the first eight games of the season together. The best first quarter the Rockets had was when they hung 38 points on the Mavericks November 1 when Asik picked up two fouls in the game’s first minute. When the two have been on the floor together, the offense has been uneven and sloppy, and the defense has even struggled. Monday night, McHale pulled the plug.
The two centers started Monday’s game against Toronto, but Asik was removed from the game midway through the first quarter and the two haven’t shared the floor since. Asik played just 19 minutes in the Rockets double overtime win against the Raptors, and after logging just four minutes Wednesday in Philly, he reportedly asked to be traded for the second time in four months.
It’s not a lock the Rockets give in to his demand, they already ignored it once, but that was back when they wanted to give Asik and Howard playing together a shot. Now that it hasn’t worked, I would think Darryl Morey will be more active in trying to move him. The question is where, and for what.
The logical move, which has been talked since Howard signed with the Rockets, is to send Asik to New Orleans for Ryan Anderson. New Orleans needs a center, Anderson gives the Rockets a stretch power forward, the salaries are almost identical, so its an easy 1-for-1 trade. That isn’t the trade I’d make though. I’d be more ambitious.
Asik is a great player, and while he has his limitations at the offensive end he can anchor a defense. The Rockets were an ok defensive team last season when he was on the floor, they were a mess at that end when he was off it. Anderson is a nice player, but he won’t have that type of an impact.
I’m a big Al Horford fan. He’s not a guy who will stretch the floor like Anderson, but he does have range. He’s a complete player who would be able to play center if the Rockets decided to go small, and I think he could be made available by the Hawks if the package were right.
Asik is an asset, but the Rockets also have second year forwards Terrence Jones and Donatas Montiejunas they could throw in, along with draft picks.
Sticking with the Hawks, I’d be interested in Paul Millsap. Thaddeus Young with the Sixers could also be an option, and there are plenty of other names that will get thrown around along with teams that will be interested.
The point I’m trying to make is that the Rockets have a chance to win a title this season. You don’t get those chances very often, and when you do have that window, it can close very quickly. Darryl Morey has a solid player that he really has no use for at this time. He needs to turn that into something. If he doesn’t do it by February’s deadline, he might come to regret it in April and May.
Morey doesn’t need to be in a big rush to get this done. There are a lot of players, Millsap being one, that can’t be traded until December 15, and not just to make Asik happy, but to give the Rockets a chance to win a championship.
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