What not to do in NBA free agency
Suddenly, there is a quality center who could be on the market because Dwight Howard chose to play for the Houston Rockets.
Omer Asik, the starter in his first season with Houston last year, wants out. At 7 feet and 255 pounds, he had his best season by averaging 10.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and shooting 54% from the field.
It was Asik's first season as a starter after spending his first two seasons with the Chicago Bulls where he made just two starts and averaged about 13 minutes per game.
Asik is due to make $8.3 million in each of the next two seasons, which is a manageable number. But according to a report Sunday, the Rockets aren't going to grant Asik's wish and will try to make it work. Of course, that could be just a ploy to get suitors -- could the Wizards be one? -- to sweeten their offers.
Asik was a candidate for the NBA’s Most Improved Player last season. He averaged about 3 points and 4 rebounds per game in his first two seasons in Chicago.
If you’re the Wizards, a team that needs more size in the low post and has an unreliable 7-footer in Nene (various injuries) and Emeka Okafor (2014 free agent) possibly on his way out soon, would you try to make a move for the Turk?
The Rockets were the NBA’s second-best scoring team last season but in the bottom half defensively with points allowed. With Howard, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, they'll immediately improve.
So what do the Wizards have to offer?
Trevor Ariza, who spent 2009-10 with the Rockets, is in the final year of his deal in Washington that will pay him $7.7 million is probably their best asset. Okafor will make $14.5 million on his expiring deal. Because of their presence, the Wizards were a top 10 defense, the only non-playoff team among the group. Both were acquired in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans before last season.
Ariza is 6-8 and can complement Howard by defending the perimeter. He was the Wizards' best one-on-one defender last season.
Trades in the NBA can be complicated because it’s a mathematical equation and there are variables to consider such as a trade “kicker” which is a bonus to the traded player, usually a flat rate or a percentage, upon execution. That “kicker” can make the trade impossible unless the player waives it.
But the Wizards only would have to make the first seasons match to execute such a trade for Asik.