NBA trade rumors: Anderson Varejao could be option in Omer Asik deal

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

TNT's David Aldridge believes Varejao would be a "perfect fit" next to Dwight Howard, but Terrence Jones has done really well with the Rockets' starters.

The Houston Rockets intend to trade disgruntled center Omer Asik next Wednesday or Thursday, and Cleveland Cavaliers big man Anderson Varejao could be a target, according to TNT's David Aldridge.

Aldridge went into further detail on the TNT broadcast of the Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night:

"Philadelphia and Milwaukee have been mentioned as potential destinations for Asik, but don't count out the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have a veteran big man in Anderson Varejao who doesn't need any plays run for him and could provide the kind of defensive play next to Howard that the Rockets had hoped Asik would provide."

Ever since it became clear the duo of Asik and Dwight Howard wasn't going to work, an Asik trade has simply become a matter of when not if. Houston is waiting until after Dec. 15 to make a deal because players who signed as free agents in the offseason can't be included in a trade until then. However, the Rockets want to consummate a trade before Dec. 20 so any player acquired could still possibly be dealt before the February trade deadline.

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The idea that Varejao could be a serious target for the Rockets is a curious one. While the duo of Howard and Asik was a bit disappointing defensively, the real issue was on the offensive end. In the 93 minutes those two have been on the court together, Houston scored just 87.3 points per 100 possessions per NBA.com's stats page, an especially galling number given the generally high-powered nature of the Rockets' offense. Varejao is certainly more skilled than Asik, but he still wouldn't provide the optimal floor spacing playing next to Howard.

Furthermore, the Rockets have a really good thing going with Terrence Jones at the power forward position. Not only is Jones himself playing well, but the Rockets' starters have been brilliant together ever since the youngster was inserted into the lineup. According to NBA.com's stats page, the lineup of Howard, Jones, James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Patrick Beverley is outscoring opponents by 16.9 points per 100 possessions.

So while an Asik trade is inevitable, the goal shouldn't necessarily be to find that "perfect fit" next to Howard. The Rockets may have already found that.

From the Cavs' point of view, a Varejao/Asik swap doesn't seem to make much sense either. Andrew Bynum is obviously a health risk, but he has shown signs of returning to his former self and it's doubtful Bynum and Asik could co-exist. There's also a high likelihood the Rockets would want a first-round pick back in the deal as well, which probably wouldn't be worth it for Cleveland, although a third team could get involved to make things work.

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