NBA trade rumors: Balloon payment cooling market for Omer Asik

Scott Halleran

The trade market for Houston's big man is cooling off thanks to his complicated contract.

The trade market for Houston Rockets center Omer Asik is cooling off, according to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News. Thanks to the Gilbert Arenas provision, the center signed a three-year, $25 million contract in the summer of 2012, in which he is paid $5 million the first two years and $15 million in the third year.

While paying $5 million for Asik's services seems like quite the steal, $15 million for the third year is a pricey pill to swallow for any team considering to trade for the big man.

"It is a tough sell to bring something like that to your owner," one league executive said. "You have got to tell him, ‘We’re getting a pretty good player, an $8 million player. Oh, but we have to pay him $15 million. We will be giving him LeBron (James) money. That’s OK, right?’ That’s not really a conversation you want to have."

Trade rumors -- and the presence of Dwight Howard -- have hurt Asik's on-court value; the fourth-year big man has appeared in just 17 of Houston's 39 games this year, after starting all 82 regular season games last season. Playing just 18.3 minutes a night, Asik is averaging 4.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, two figures well below last season's breakout averages as a starter.

Rockets guard Jeremy Lin hasn't been in as many trade rumors as Asik, but has interest around the league and was signed in the summer of 2012 to a contract identical to his Turkish teammate.

According to Deveney, however, the Rockets "probably would not want to trade Lin" even with the "balloon payment." The fourth-year guard is averaging career-highs in shooting and three-point percentage and has thrived both as a sixth man and as a starting point guard in the injured Patrick Beverley's absence.

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