What would Picasso do? Grantland's Bill Simmons usually fields those questions when it comes to NBA trade rumors, referring to himself as the "Picasso of the Trade Machine." A couple years ago, we tried to determine what the actual Picasso, who thrived in deconstruction and reconstruction, would do to get Carmelo Anthony out of Denver. We also got into the heads of some other great painters including Manet, Rothko and Klimt.
This season, Omer Asik is the focus of our attention. He has reportedly requested a trade from the Houston Rockets; after playing 280 straight games to begin his NBA career, he was handed a DNP-CD on Thursday. He pretty clearly must be traded. Which masters will offer their ideas this time around? Let's find out.
Signature work: Guernica
Trade Machine Masterpiece: Omer Asik to the Cavaliers; Anderson Varejao and the rights to Furkan Aldemir to the Rockets; a future Houston second-round pick protected up to No. 59 to the Sixers.
Deconstruct Asik and what do you have? A large Turkish defender who kind of looks like he could live in Williamsburg. Aldemir covers the Turkish part, Varejao is a large defender and just-starting Portland-bred Terrence Jones covers the hipster angle.
Why does Philadelphia participate at all? Daryl Morey and Sam Hinkie had a side bet on Royce White. Morey bet he wouldn't last to Thanksgiving. Hinkie puts his chips on St. Patrick's Day. Easy victory for Houston.
Signature work: The Luncheon on the Grass
Trade Machine Masterpiece: Omer Asik and Jason Richardson to the Knicks; Thaddeus Young to the Rockets; Amare Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert and some future first-round pick from New York to the Sixers.
Manet painted pretty things, but they were pretty things considered abrasive to public sensibility. In 2010, we compared Manet to David Kahn, but a more modern comp might be Sam Hinkie. He does not care how obvious his effort to get a very high draft pick has been. He really does not care. He traded a 23-year-old All-Star point guard, for goodness sake.
Here, our modern Manet flips Thad Young for Shumpert and a pick. (New York doesn't really need to include the pick and can't until 2018 anyway; I'm just trying to be a little more realistic as to what the Knicks would do here.) Young is an upgrade at power forward for Houston given what they are trying to do, and Asik is a great option both in place of the injured Tyson Chandler and as his backup. It may not make Asik any more happy, but Manet didn't really have much sympathy for his subjects, did he?
The Sixers, of course, also take on the salary of one Amar'e Stoudemire, who is without question the second-best available tank star we have seen this season. (His teammate Andrea Bargnani wins first prize.) If the Sixers won't cooperate and lose, Hinkie is just going to have to help them out.
Signature work: Death of the Virgin
Trade Machine Masterpiece: Omer Asik and Zach Randolph to the Lakers; Pau Gasol to the Grizzlies; Ed Davis and Steve Blake to the Rockets.
Caravaggio fused hardcore naturalism with strong palette contrasts. He was also brilliantly subversive -- legend is that he used a prostitute as the model of Mary in Death of the Virgin -- and someone who inspired generations of artists who followed. So basically, he's Pau Gasol, whose Pleasantville Twitter feed belies a dark attitude about the cruel world we inhabit. Why else would Pau study medicine as a hobby? He's probably before human experiments somewhere in the Santa Monica Mountains in the offseason. Don't think Kobe isn't involved, too.
There is basically no good way to get Pau to Houston this year; it would take trading Jeremy Lin, which really doesn't look like it will happen. Luckily, Gasol would be a fun little escapade for the new Memphis front office to chase. His massive contract comes off the books a year before that of Randolph, which should give the Grizzlies some relief almost immediately. In addition, he's a big enough name and has a history with Memphis, which should temper anger at the Z-Bo exile. Being Marc Gasol's brother also doesn't hurt.
Houston gets another power forward in Davis and someone to cut in Blake. And L.A. -- let's be real -- gets two players better than anyone they'll sign in free agency. Remember who the team pulled in during the 2013 free agency period: Nick Young, Chris Kaman, Jordan Farmar, Xavier Henry and Wes Johnson. It seems like the guys who want to play with the #KobeSystem are becoming increasingly worse.
Goya is my favorite artist, and the Kings are my favorite team. That should probably be the extent of my explanation here, but you can't stop me from making more tenuous links, can you?
The Kings and Rockets have a vast trade history. Sacramento gave Houston Ron Artest for Donte Greene and the pick that become Omri Casspi. Greene is in China and Casspi is somehow with the Rockets (and playing well) ... and somehow cost the Kings a separate lost first-round pick (currently owed to Cleveland). The magic of Geoff Petrie!
The Kings gave the Rockets Kevin Martin for Carl Landry; a year later, Landry was traded for Marcus Thornton. Months later, the Kings gave Thornton a hefty contract; earlier this week, Thornton got benched for a 20-year-old rookie. Thanks, Houston!
The Kings sent No. 5 overall pick Thomas Robinson to Houston last season for Patrick Patterson and spare parts. Patterson got benched for Jason Thompson this week. Thanks, Houston! At least the Rockets had to lose T-Rob for pennies on the dollar to make room for ... Dwight Howard.
Daryl Morey was not nice to Sacramento's now-retired GM Geoff Petrie, and he owes us one. Also -- one more tenuous link to Goya -- the Kings' defense is a total disaster. And, okay, one more: if DeMarcus Cousins has to play without a top-flight frontcourt defender much longer, coach Michael Malone may begin to do this to GM Pete D'Alessandro.
Free Asik. To Sacramento, preferably.