Report: Rockets shopping Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin in pursuit of Dwight Howard
The Rockets, who were due to meet with Howard shortly after NBA’s free agency negotiating period kicks in at 12:01 a.m. ET Monday, are making roster moves that will clear up the necessary salary space to offer Howard a max contract. The team has also been making the contingency plans to part with the soon to be expendable parts and construct the team around him, if they in fact land Howard.
The Rockets already released swingman Carlos Delfino and guard Aaron Brooks, as well as agreeing in principal to a trade that will send forward Thomas Robinson to the Portland Trail Blazers. Now, CBS Sports' Ken Berger reports that the Rockets are shopping point guard Jeremy Lin as well as center Omer Asik, and the Philadelphia 76ers appear as a likely trade landing spot for the latter.
“If the Rockets land Howard, Asik would become expendable,” writes Burger. “One potential destination that rival executives have identified is Philadelphia, where former Rockets executive Sam Hinkie is the Sixers' new general manager.”
Hinkie was part of the Houston Rockets front office that negotiated similar backloaded offer sheets for the two restricted free agents last summer
Asik was in the second-year of a three-year contract with the Hoston Rockets. Last season, Asik appeared in 82 games, while averaging 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds in 30 minutes per contest.
Trading the Turkish center will allow the Rockets to bring in help at other areas, since he will already become expendable with the arrival of Howard. However, the inclusion of Jeremy Lin in such designs is a bit more surprising considering the only other point guards on the roster are Patrick Beverley and second-round pick Isaiah Canaan. However, Beverley could potentially take over at the starting spot as he emerged as a quality player last season. Otherwise, the Rockets will have to trade Jeremy Lin for another starting caliber guard or more rotational players.
The Houston Rockets have crossed Carlos Delfino’s $3 million non-guaranteed salary off their books, following Sunday’s move. If Howard agrees to terms with the Rockets, which isn’t expected to become official until July 10, then the Thomas Robinson trade will have created enough cap space for the Rockets to sign Howard to his a four-year max deal.
The Robinson trade, which doesn’t become official until July 10, will take the Rockets off the hook for Robinson’s $6.9 million guaranteed salary. The Rockets also get two future second-round picks and the rights to forwards Kostas Papanikolaou and Marko Todorovic in return from the Trail Blazers, according to league sources.