…And the mission to clear cap space begins for the Houston Rockets. It’s no secret that the Rockets are looking to acquire Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James or both should they have the cap space to do so. Before they could really be taken seriously at all by both free agents, they had to clear the cap space to be able to sign them and the only things standing in their way was Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin who are both owed 8.3 million in 2014-15. However, due to the poison pill provision in his contract, despite only being 8.3 on the salary cap, he is owed 15 million next year. This trade can’t be announced officially until July 1st, and it won’t be able to be completed as it stands. The Pelicans would be over the luxury tax threshold with this trade and Asik’s incoming salary is more than what’s allowed via the 125% plus $100,000 rule. To make the deal work, the Pelicans would have to cut 8,274,646 to make the deal work out.
While the details aren’t ironed out, what is for sure is Asik is going to be the starting center for the Pelicans next year and the Rockets will have cleared cap space to make a run at Carmelo or LeBron.
Great trade. The Rockets have one goal in mind and that is win an NBA championship, to do that they need the third star to add to the roster. While Carmelo isn’t a great fit with Houston, if they can clear the space for LeBron, they’d immediately be the best team in the NBA. Signing Asik two summers ago was more of a move to prevent the Knicks from getting him then anything else. When Dwight came to town, it was clear that Asik could not stay. Besides not fitting on the court together, Asik was unhappy that he’d been downgraded to a role player rather than a starter. Asik, one of the best defensive centers in the NBA deserves a starting spot and now he has it with New Orleans. The Rockets acquire a 2015 1st round pick, which can’t hurt, but it’s more the clearing of salary that prepares them for a real chance at either LeBron or Carmelo. Next up comes trading Jeremy Lin to clear his 8.3 million from the books and then the Rockets will be the best suitor in terms of contention chances and the best team in terms of their financial flexibility. Once Lin is gone it’ll be hard to turn down coming to Houston. With Harden and Howard already in place and great role players like Beverley, Parsons and Terrence Jones still in Houston, the Rockets would be the #1 candidate to win a title next season.
The Pelicans’ carelessness with dealing out 1st round picks definitely makes me uneasy, especially because they are nowhere close to winning now. However, they desperately needed a center so that Anthony Davis could play his natural position at the 4 and defend opposing power forwards, rather than banging down low with the centers of the league. Asik brings size at 7’0″, 255 lbs, a presence on the boards and a presence in the paint. The Pelicans, despite losing a 1st round pick in the process, have just built the scariest front-court duo in the NBA. Anthony Davis is already averaging just under 3 blocks a game and now with Asik sitting in the paint as well, it’ll be very hard for the Pelicans to be scored on inside and out-rebounded. For Asik, he should be happy considering he’ll now have the starting role he’s desired for a couple of years. Asik and Davis can also work offensively. Unlike Dwight Howard who operates solely in the paint and on the block, Anthony Davis is more of a versatile offensive player in that he can step out and hit mid-range jump shots to clear room for Asik inside. Looking toward next season, the Pelicans will likely start a healthy Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Al-Farouq Aminu, Anthony Davis and Omer Asik with Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson off the bench. While it’s hard to predict where they’ll fall in the West, they’re definitely primed for a competitive season and possibly a playoff appearance if everybody stays healthy.
The Rockets are now looking to trade Jeremy Lin, who has been linked to the Warriors as a potential suitor. The Rockets will be reluctant to part with Lin unless they’re sure they can sign one of the two superstars as a result. If the Warriors were to take on Jeremy Lin, apparently Chandler Parsons would be the kicker and they’d be looking to get him as well.