And so it begins. The Rockets have reportedly agreed to trade Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for a 2015 first round pick, ending a year-long standoff between the team and center and clearing more than $8.4 million in cap space.
Asik is scheduled to earn about $15 million in the final year of a 3 year contract he signed in the summer of 2012, but it will only count against the cap for $8.4 million because of the structure of the "early bird" free agent contract he signed. With only a 2015 first rounder coming back, the Rockets have begun the process of opening up cap room for their summer pursuit of Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. The team will have to also trade Jeremy Lin and likely Donatas Motiejunas to make a near-max contract offer to either free agent, and that seems to be the logical next move.
Big Omer enjoyed an excellent debut season with the Rockets in 2012-13, helping lockdown an otherwise horrendous defense, but was quickly pushed out of the starting lineup after the team signed Dwight Howard. He made his triumphant return to the lineup in the playoffs, fighting his heart out to slow down a dangerous Portland frontcourt, but the team fell a bit short. Despite Asik's repeated trade requests, he was always a tremendous competitor, and he will be missed in Houston.
We'll have more on the trade as information becomes available, but if I were Jeremy Lin, I would not get too cozy in Houston. Morey is not done quite yet.