Omer Asik of the Houston Rockets used to be the starting center but ever since the arrival of All-Star Dwight Howard in the off-season, Asik has been relegated to the bench. Coach Kevin McHale experimented with playing both centers at the same time in the first few games but clearly that has failed. Asik used to average around 30 minutes per game last season but is now just averaging less than 20. His statistics are also way down. It is no wonder that he demanded to be traded a few weeks into the season.
Over the past few days, the Rockets have been busy making calls to find a good trade for Asik. Many teams are quite interested in the 27-year old big man. In 2012-2013, Asik averaged 10 points and nearly 13 rebounds a game —both career highs – in all 82 contests. More importantly, he is known for his defensive mettle and can dominate on that end.
The Boston Celtics were reportedly the frontrunners of the Asik sweepstakes but talks broke down and now the Rockets announced that they will hold on to him. However, given the state of affairs between Asik and the Rockets management. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wears a new jersey before the trade deadline in February.
Another disgruntled big man is Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers. Gasol has been increasingly vocal about his role on the team and actually called out Coach Mike D’Antoni’s offensive sets. He immediately made some conciliatory comments but the damage has been done. To date, there are no trade rumors swirling about Gasol but this is a big possibility given the fact that he becomes an unrestricted agent next year. If the Lakers don’t shop him by February 2014, they may end up with nothing for Gasol. This would be exactly the same situation as when the team lost Howard.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are also busy trying trade 2nd year guard Dion Waiters. Waiters projected breakout sophomore season has hit a snag. For starters, he had a fight with Tristan Thompson and other teammates last November following a blowout loss. He was also taken out of the starting unit. Rumor has it that Waiters wants out of Cleveland with the Philadelphia 76ers his preferred choice since he thinks, “he would be the best player there.”
Waiters recently denied the trade request saying he was happy and comfortable with the team. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cavs make a move to get more assets, especially in the small forward position.
The next few weeks will be exciting to watch as teams will be positioning to either “tank” their season or bolster their playoff chances. Abangan!
SIDELINES. One of the most lopsided trades in NBA history was the Los Angeles Lakers trading for Kobe Bryant. The Lakers gave away proven big man Vlade Divac for the young and unproven Bryant. Five championship rings, 14 All-Star selections, and an NBA MVP Award later, the Lakers made out like bandits.