The Omer Asik trade rumor is ramping up and (unfortunately) it seems that Asik will be gone soon, there are many rumors flying around,
anything that comes from hoopsworld and especially Bill Ingram many much less believable than others.
None of us are Daryl Morey and certainly none of us are as smart and dedicated as he is, as Jason Friedman in a recent hangout chat with David Locke noted that a couple trade deadline ago Morey and Hinke had no less than *100* trade scenarios lined up. that's just crazy. and you can bet that he would have quite a lot of scenarios lined up for Asik as well. (for those interested in the Friedman chat, its here )
This post is a small look into the Rocket's asset and contract situation, and try to draw some conclusion on what Morey's approach would likely be in the short term.
Assets : The Rockets have, not too surprisingly, the largest stash of extra picks and overseas player in the entire league. with the 6 extra 2nd round picks on top of *8* guys stashed over seas. the former they're in the upper 5 teams or so in terms of extra pick (along with Utah / Denver / Boston / Milwaukee / Cleveland / Phoenix though most of those teams have more extra first than we do except the Bucks.)
The detail of extra picks we have is.
2014 2nd from Philly (heavily protected, extremely unlikely to be converted.)
2014 2nd from NY (unprotected)
2015 2nd from Clippers ( heavily protected, only a small chance of being converted.)
2015 2nd from NY (unprotected.)
2015 2nd from the lesser of the Minni / Denver pick
2017 2nd from Portland
we are also missing our own 2014 2nd which ended up in Philly.
So at this stage, we're probably even in picks in 2014, 2 extra 2nd in 2015 (with an outside chance of 3) and an extra one in 2017.
Then we have no less than *8* guys stashed over seas. though obviously, more than a few of these guys are extremely unlikely to make it to the NBA.
(forget about it group)
Venson Hamilton: he's 36, drafted in 1999, which should sums up his chances of coming over.
Axel Hervelle : 30 year old Belgium, not coming over.
Maarty Leunen : a 28 year old guy we drafted in 2008 ... and wait for it..... he's a 6'9 Power forward (SURPRISE!) he can shoot a little who can't rebound... so he fits RIIIIIGHT into Morey's team concept ;) well really he's probably not coming to the NBA now, though chance is not zero.
Brett Newley: an Aussie we drafted in 2007, again, 28 years old , SF that isn't much of a shooter, can score a little, he might make it as a last guy on the bench if he really wants to but why bother when you can make more reliable money in Europe.
(The you might see them somewhere in the NBA at some point group)
Jon Deibler : a good shooter in the Euro league so far. he can probably be a serviceable shooter in the NBA, hell, he's probably better than Jimmer Fredett.
Marko Todorovic: a 21 year old player from Montenegro , he's got the body to be a interesting big in the NBA, though at this stage it's not entirely sure how it would look but really when your 6'11 with good body and foot work chances are you'll have a spot somewhere.
Kostas Papanikolaou: very interesting 23 year old Greek wing who can shoot and rebound, seems like a very plausible role player in the NBA.
Sergio Llull : the 26 year old probably the highest profile player of this group, often tagged as the 2nd best young PG from Spain after Rubio. and showing considerably better shooting ability, but he's more or less an attack first guard . he's clearly a rotation player in the NBA, though it's a question if he's a starter.
So as you can see, we have a few guys that could conceivably come over and be useful players in the next couple years, on top of having a lot of extra picks especially next year
So what does this all means for the Rockets and Asik?
The big takeaway here is that, we have more assets than roster spot at this point, I figure of those 4, at least 1 guy will come over in the next couple years.
We can only keep 15 guys on roster, 13 guys in uniform, so extra assets is very nice when your trying to build towards something, but once we're at the point where we can conceivably make runs in the playoffs (which I think everyone agree we are at ) you really should try to convert them and concentrate as much value on those 15 guys actually on your roster.
Thus, the rumor that Rocket is seeking extra 1st round picks is a curious one, yeah, they don't have extra first like Denver or Phoenix of Philly, but unless it's a high pick the odds of the player being a serious plus over most other current NBA players , and the odds of teams giving up high 1st in this draft seems extremely limited. while getting picks further down the road makes very little sense at this stage. and even if they get it, it might be something like their own first + a extra 2nd for it as well.
Certainly, Morey knows what they're doing, and all this should probably be posturing, but at this stage, it looks like the logical trade for the Rockets would be to try and make sure they have 13 guys that can really ball on any given night, that you can suffer injuries and still be really competitive most of the time.
With this then, the case need to be made that Dmo and Ronnie Brewer are likely to be on their way out with Asik, with Dmo, the team is simply a bad fit and it's not a good thing to bury a serious prospect deep in the bench of a contender, since when Dmo does play, he trys to make a statement to get more minutes, which usually only make things worse for both him and the team. Meanwhile, getting a ton of DNP - CD is not going to help his development either. So while I love his game in theory, in practice it would be so much better for both side to part ways at this point.
For Brewer its more of the simple problem that he's horrible right now, there's no other way around it, small sample and all, but when he comes on we immediately become terrible. he has an unfathomably bad +/-, if your a role playing vet who's completely failing at your role, it's time to make changes.
Meanwhile, one last food for thought, if we trade Asik, we are left with almost no contract to match money in any further deal, assuming that Harden / Howard is unmovable, while Jeremy is , he is doing quiet well in his role and with just a 8m contract you can't flip for super stars anyway while it is unlikely you make significant upgrades for his role trading for role players either. so that means if we trade Asik, there is a thinking that you might want to try and get a few other contract that looks bad, but could be potentially flipped down the road to tanking teams. Since as we see in the current Asik dilemma, teams that actually want to tank actually have problem trading for Asik since he's not making them worse in most likelihood. this limits what we can do, and in most liklihood we're still overloaded with assets after the trade anyway, so it would be wise to try and at least put yourself in a position where further deals are possible.
An example here is that, if we say.. trade Dmo / Asik / Ronnie for Amir Johnson / Landry Fields / Quincy Acy, the immediate notion would be Landry Fields suck and is massively overpaid so why we getting him? but the part is that Landry Fields especially next year would be a pretty good money matching expiring. since we totally won't miss him, and he would totally not help a tanking team, this make trades like Fields + picks for something a lot more doable with whoever is tanking next year. where as if it's Lin + picks in the same trade it gets a lot more dicey, since Lin might make said team a 30 win team and we certainly won't value Lin as merely a money matching piece, that makes trades much tougher.
So in Morey's idea of keeping options open, I suspect we might end up with a few overpaid role players as well as whoever we're trading for in whatever deal we make with Asik, it would look weird on the surface, but in the context of what we want to do over this 2 year span it makes total sense.
So in short, expect someone making 6-8 m but isn't that good but expiring next year take over Brewer's spot, that seems very likely.