Omer Asik traded to Pelicans for draft pick

Omer AsikAfter months of speculation and trade rumors, the Houston Rockets have finally traded Omer Asik.

Asik was dealt to the Pelicans in exchange for a first-round pick in 2015, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports. The Rockets are also sending $1.5 million in cash to New Orleans as part of the deal.

Asik is a valuable big man, so what is Houston’s reason for trading him? They hope freeing up the cap space can translate to them landing a bigger star.

The Rockets are in it to win it, and they want to make a run at some of the huge free agents on the market like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Their next move might be trading Jeremy Lin in order to clear even more cap space. However, USA Today’s Sam Amick says the team would only trade Lin if they land a big free agent.

Asik seemingly became expendable for Houston after the team signed Dwight Howard in free agency last summer. He spent the entire season with the team despite multiple rumors that they would trade him, and he even played on the floor at the same time as Howard though both are centers. Now he’ll be going to a team that already has a strong front court with Anthony Davis.

Omer Asik airballs free throw; Kevin McHale has great reaction (Video)

Omer-Asik-free-throwLike many other big men across the NBA, Omer Asik is not a good free throw shooter. The Houston Rockets center has hit just 60% of his free throws this season, which is an improvement upon his career mark of 54%. I’m pretty sure the worst free throw of Asik’s career came on Tuesday night against the Brooklyn Nets.

At least I’m hoping that was the worst. Asik, who scored 12 points and grabbed an eye-popping 23 rebounds in the 105-96 loss, shot a free throw in the second quarter that came up about a foot short of the rim. Rockets coach Kevin McHale had the only reaction you can really have to a shot like that.

“Wow,” McHale said.

Wow indeed. Yes, that Appalachian State player still takes the cake for worst free throw attempt we have ever seen. That doesn’t mean Asik should be any less embarrassed.

Video via @cjzero

Houston Rockets will experiment with Dwight Howard at forward

Dwight Howard RocketsThe Houston Rockets have a fairly stacked front court after signing free agent centers in consecutive years. This offseason, they managed to land Dwight Howard, who was the most coveted player on the market. The year before, they signed Omer Asik to a three-year deal.

Asik was said to be upset after the team acquired Howard and reportedly wanted to be traded. He is still with Houston, and it looks like the team will try to make the most of having both players.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey conducted an “ask me anything” session on Reddit Friday and explained Asik’s role on the team.

“Omer would prefer to be a starter and is certainly a starter+ quality player. That said, he is a winner first & likes being on a winning team,” Morey said in response to someone who asked about Asik and Howard sharing the center position.

Morey was also asked if Asik could see minutes as a power forward, which would allow him and Howard to be on the court at the same time. Morey says they will explore that possibility, only with the positions reversed.

“Coach McHale plans to experiment with Dwight at PF and Omer as C in training camp. If it works and helps us win, obviously we would look at using it,” Morey wrote.

There is speculation that Morey saying he will play Asik and Howard together is a claim intended to boost Asik’s trade value. It certainly doesn’t seem like having Howard and Asik — both big rebounders and defensive presences who can’t shoot free throws very well — together on the court at the same time would be a great idea.

Another interesting quote came when Morey was asked about the report that Chris Paul was threatening the Clippers that he would sign with the Rockets. In response, Morey called Chris Paul the best point guard in the NBA and said it was flattering to hear the Clippers guard had interest in joining their team.

H/T Rotoworld

Josh Smith, Omer Asik trades could be next for Rockets

Josh SmithDwight Howard reportedly has chosen to sign with the Houston Rockets as a free agent, but you have to figure the team has more in the works. As good as James Harden is, and as nice of a young player as Chandler Parsons is, the Rockets still need another top-level player to compete with Oklahoma City and San Antonio, among other Western Conference teams. Even Howard reportedly asked the Rockets about their plans to add a third star player when he met with them. That third player may be Josh Smith.

Zach Klein of WSB in Atlanta says the Rockets will try to talk with the Atlanta Hawks about a potential sign-and-trade deal for Smith. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst adds the Hawks would be open to a sign-and-trade deal for Smith.

Windhorst also reports that Omer Asik, who signed a three-year, $25.1 million deal with Houston last season, does not want to back up Howard at center. Instead, he would prefer a trade.

Several reporters have suggested the Rockets could deal Asik to the Hawks for Smith in a sign-and-trade, but Atlanta and Asik would have to be interested in such a deal for that to happen.

As Eye on Basketball previously noted, Howard and Smith are friends from their AAU days in Atlanta.

We don’t know what moves Houston will make, but we can be certain that adding Howard is not all they plan to do.

Omer Asik scores on his own basket (Video)

We’ve seen this happen many times before, and it never gets old. Houston Rockets center Omer Asik accidentally scored on his own basket while trying to grab a rebound during his team’s 117-101 win over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.

Even with the gift, the 3-12 Raptors couldn’t capitalize. Asik finished with 13 points (not including the deuce for the opponent), and 18 rebounds. The third-year player from Turkey is actually third in the NBA in rebounds per game now that he’s getting a chance to start.

Congrats, Omer, you now have an embarrassing moment that tops the 0-point performance you had in your second career game with Houston.