The Rockets and Dwight Howard have not even formalized an agreement yet to sign the star center, and one teammate is already asking out. According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Turkish center Omer Asik has no interest in playing with Dwight Howard, and could force a trade out when the Rockets sign Howard.
Rockets center Omer Asik has no interest in backing up or playing next Dwight Howard, according to sources. Could force trade.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 5, 2013
Yes, there are plenty of Dwight Howard teammate jokes to be made here, but the long and short of this is that Omer Asik left Chicago where he was stuck behind Joakim Noah, had a breakout season with the Rockets, and has no interest in returning to the bench to be insurance yet again. He's tasted the sweet taste of playing time, and has no plans to relinquish it.
Fortunately enough, the Rockets likely have no plans to hold onto Omer Asik. Asik would be great insurance behind Howard, but the fit on the floor together is iffy at best and having Asik playing 15 minutes a night is a waste of his skills. With offers coming in around the league, the Rockets will likely use Asik to acquire a power forward to pair with Howard.
The Rockets have been chasing Josh Smith and the fact that they have secured Dwight Howard's signature only intensifies that pursuit. Atlanta has reportedly been intrigued for some time in landing Asik, and with Smith and Howard's strong relationship, a sign-and-trade arrangement seems quite likely at this point.
And if not, Asik has a ton of value throughout the league. If Portland decides to give in to LaMarcus Aldridge's trade request, they would love to add a dynamic defensive center in Asik, and if not Portland, almost any team could use a double-double machine like Asik. The Bulls are reportedly interested, and the 76ers were also linked to Asik earlier this off-season.
In landing Howard, the Rockets have simply opened up the playbook in terms of what they can do. It'll be exciting to see what Daryl Morey ends up with at the end of this summer.