Rockets have 'delusional' asking price for Omer Asik

Scott Halleran

The Rockets want to trade Omer Asik, but they're not handing him over for nothing.

The Houston Rockets may be shopping embattled big man Omer Asik, but the asking price from general manager Daryl Morey has been "delusional" so far, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports. He quotes a "rival GM" who says the Rockets are being unreasonable in their expectations for an Asik deal.

The limiting factor, of course, is that while Asik counts only $8.4 million against the cap/tax, his actual salary next season is $15 million. Given those constraints and Asik's sad-sack demeanor, one rival GM described the Rockets as "delusional" as far as their asking price for him.

While many analysts around the league consider Asik one of the game's great interior defenders, that $15 million salary for 2014-15 is clearly limiting his trade value. Coupled with Asik's early struggles this season while adjusting to a smaller role, and Houston's been left in a precarious position trying to find a good deal.

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After starting all 82 games at center for the Rockets last season, Asik accommodated the arrival of Dwight Howard by temporarily sliding over to power forward this year. When that arrangement faltered early on, coach Kevin McHale decided to drop Asik from the starting lineup altogether, a move the big man publicly criticized.

However, the Rockets clearly acknowledge the value of a player like Asik, even if he's redundant with Howard around. That's left the team stuck with a starter-quality player owed a star's salary, and teams are clearly shying away from forking over major picks and players when it seems Houston will need to pull the trigger on a deal eventually.

So for now, we can presumably guess what Morey is after: a first-round pick. After seeing the Suns manage to snag a protected first-rounder from Washington in exchange for Marcin Gortat, you can imagine Morey setting that standard for the younger, more durable Asik, even with the big salary next season.

Whether he gets it remains to be seen, but Asik will likely be gone by February regardless.

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