Omer Asik trade rumors: Rockets expect to hang on to center

Scott Halleran

The Houston Rockets tried to build a market for center Omer Asik, but they might end up hanging on to him for several reasons.

After stirring up trade rumors involving center Omer Asik early in the year, the Houston Rockets appear resigned to hanging on to their backup center beyond the Feb. 20 trade deadline, reports CBS Sports' Ken Berger. Sources told Berger that tanking NBA squads don't want to bring on a rim-defending big man who could help them win, and winning teams don't want to trade any valuable assets for him.

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Houston originally gave other teams a "deadline" of Dec. 19 to make offers for Asik. That would have allowed the Rockets to ship him to a new squad and still be able to trade any returning assets, but it was a hard sell with the center's contract jumping to $15 million annually next season. Asik becomes a free agent after 2014-15, and other franchises believe they can chase the big man then.

Asik has asked to be traded and Houston explored it. General manager Daryl Morey admitted that the Rockets set their trade talks aside at their self-imposed deadline after a near-deal fell apart at the ownership level. Morey seems to be stuck with Asik -- and vice versa -- now that the discussions have been tabled.

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With Dwight Howard starring at center and a two-center lineup having failed under coach Kevin McHale, Asik is expendable. But it hasn't helped that he's been out of action with a knee injury. The Houston Chronicle reported on Dec. 25 that the team couldn't diagnose why Asik's knee swells whenever he increased his activity. As of New Year's Day, Asik's status had not changed.

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