Yesterday afternoon, reports started surfacing all over the place about where Omer Asik might end up and what the Rockets would get in return, and the deal that kept coming up was one that would send him to the Boston Celtics in return for Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass, and a first round pick. And as time went along, it seemed as if that deal would come to fruition.
Now, it's morning, and no deal has come about. What do we make of it? Perhaps, as Steve Bulpett writes, no deal was ever particularly close to being done.
Celtics-Rockets trade talks not so hot | Boston Herald
On the list of spectators for this latest round of trade rumors, one should be certain to include the Celtics. While the club is said to be more than open to the possibility of acquiring Omer Asik from Houston, it has made no move in that direction in several days.
Multiple sources confirmed that an offer of Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee and a first-round draft pick - protected, at that - was indeed made by the Celts ... last week. When it was summarily turned down by the Rockets, the matter was closed and remained such as of late today.
The Celtics were not deep in talks with the Rockets today. They were not negotiating over which first-round pick would be included in the deal or how well protected that pick would be.
According to a source from a team that has been involved in the process and dropped out, the next move would have to come from the Rockets.
The Rockets have known for quite some time that Asik wants out. Word is he was told the club would sign no center ahead of him when he agreed to join Houston as a free agent in 2012. When Dwight Howard was lured this past summer, Asik reminded them of his and quietly asked to be moved.
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Well, that changes things. The Rockets have been said to have an offer they're willing to accept and I don't think that has changed, but just as things seemed to be honing in on the Celtics last night from every direction, this report goes against that and throws everything into flux.
I am glad, however, that the Rockets appear unwilling to take the offer the Celtics reportedly made of Lee, Bass, and a protected first. Two bad contracts and a crappy first rounder for one of the top 15 centers in the league, even on a big contract, seems more than a little underwhelming. It would help the Rockets' depth, but I don't see why the Rockets would be interested in that deal.
Meanwhile, his last point that the Rockets apparently promised Asik that they would not sign anyone in front of him is interesting, but I am rather skeptical. On a team that refuses to sign extensions, that operates in such an efficient manner, are they really going to make any promises like that to a free agent? Perhaps they played up Asik's fit as a starting center, but I doubt Morey promised Asik that he would be the top center in Houston.
Maybe we're not going to be done tomorrow!
Clutchfans has an interesting report that might throw off the time frame of any Asik trade:
Source: Rockets have been informed by league that the deadline is 12/20 (not 12/19) to make trade & still be able to trade received players.— ClutchFans (@clutchfans) December 19, 2013
Dave also noted on Twitter that this will likely not change the Rockets' plans with respect to Asik, but it does give the Rockets a little bit of breathing room if a deal does not get done precisely at the right time. It also potentially prolongs our suffering as we wait to see what comes back in an Asik trade.
To be honest, I'm starting to get Asik of the whole thing.
Lakers want to get in on the fun
This last report is from Ramona Shelburne of ESPN LA, discussing the Lakers' minor interest in Asik:
Lakers checked in on Houston, which is determined to trade disgruntled center Omer Asik before Thursday. But nothing ever got serious— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) December 18, 2013
I have to say, I would vastly prefer a deal that sends out Lin and Asik for Gasol to the crappy offer the Celtics made, even though I realize that it would never happen. At least if the Rockets acquired Gasol, they would be setting themselves up with ridiculous payroll flexibility moving forward. In the Celtics deal, they get a first rounder and some depth for the bench, but mess up their payroll and tank their chances at LaMarcus Aldridge or Kevin Love.
In a Pau Gasol deal, they add a veteran piece who could backup both Jones and Howard, and generate near-max cap space this summer, the summer of LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and Carmelo. It would hurt them in the short term, but the long term payoff would be much higher.
Now, this is all a moot point because I don't think the Lakers would go for that deal in any situation given their payroll plans and now with the news that they're taking Gasol off the trade block, it's even less likely, but it is some interesting food for thought. What should the Rockets' biggest priority be? Ensuring cap flexibility, gaining draft picks, or improving their talent right now?
Let us know in the comments!