Friday, October 18, 2013
Asik returns; will he stay with Rockets?
By Nick Borges
One of the hot topics heading into the new NBA season for the Houston Rockets is whether or not Dwight Howard and Omer Asik can play well together. The Rockets have not been able to answer that question as Asik has been dealing with a calf injury. Asik returned to practice on Thursday and he looked good.
“He did everything today, so that is a great sign,” head coach Kevin McHale told the Houston Chronicle.
Asik's return gives McHale a few preseason games to figure out how he's going to play the two centers. The prevailing opinion by a large number of NBA pundits is the Howard-Asik combination won't work and ultimately Asik will be traded. ESPN Insider David Thorpe has some thoughts on the subject (see below), including possible trade destinations.
David ThorpeTrade targets for Omer Asik
"After the Rockets signed free-agent center Dwight Howard, Asik quickly made it known that he did not want to play with Howard and was unhappy to once again be relegated to the bench. There has been talk of Asik and Howard playing together, but with both being poor shooters, it's highly unlikely the two could complement each other. Rather, they would more likely get in each other's way. Barring an injury to Howard, Asik cannot stay in Houston. Asik has proved he can be a solid starting defensive center in this league. He had a fine first season in Houston, averaging 10.1 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. If he can't play alongside or behind Howard, the Rockets should trade him for someone who can. Though his salary escalates dramatically in 2014-15, Asik is due just a little more than $5 million in 2013-14. Simply put, as a trade chip, Asik can bring back a decent haul of young talent. For a savvy team such as the Rockets and general manager Daryl Morey, if he doesn't trade Asik before the season starts, his availability will be one of the most asked questions in the early months of the season. One of the teams that should be interested in Asik is the Miami Heat."