Apr 6, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Omer Asik (3) sits on the bench during the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets Make Room for LeBron James with Asik Trade

The Houston Rockets are not shy about their aspirations to acquire either LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony this offseason.

To sign either of them, Houston would need to make cap space by dumping the salaries of Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey found a trade partner for the former Wednesday evening, sending Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans for a future first-round pick, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

While it certainly doesn’t mean James is taking his talents to Space City, it seems as if every time the Rockets swing for the fences they come up with something.

First, it was landing James Harden when the team desperately needed a post-Yao Ming identity.

Then Morey signed Dwight Howard a year after signing Asik to starter’s money. Asik, then, was the odd man out. Both he and Lin are set to make roughly $8.4 million next season.

So is Houston really an attractive enough spot for LeBron?

The Rockets have two All-Stars in Harden and Howard. But Howard is a space eater who will clog the paint, making getting to the rim more difficult for James.

Harden is as useful on defense as a Walmart greeter, so James would still have to guard the opponent’s best wing scorer.

As for the rest of the roster, Patrick Beverley is a good on-ball defender but not a threat to space the floor, and the team is still unsettled as to what it will do opposite James at power forward.

Aside from personnel, James would also be swapping coach Erik Spoelstra—who spent years establishing a system customized to fit James—for Kevin McHale, who stays up at night wondering if he will ever be able to teach Dwight a post move.

The more likely option for the Rockets, and far better fit,  is Anthony. He’ll space the floor for Houston and doesn’t rely on getting to the rim. Sure, the perimeter defense would be horrible, but that’s why they have Howard.

The Asik trade will cause ripples around the NBA, but don’t fret Heat fans, it doesn’t mean LeBron is gone. It might mean, though, that your Melo “pipe dream” is over.


Tags: Carmelo Anthony Dwight Howard Houston Rockets James Harden Lebron James Miami Heat Omer Asik Rumors

  • Mike

    I believe the LeBron race is strictly between Miami and Cleveland. Why would he play in the west with an injury prone big? He’s been dealing with Wade’s injuries as well. With cap space and the #1 pick, hard to imagine him not heading home.

    • KA

      He’d be joining a team that won the same number of games as the heat last year without him. I think he stays in Miami, Houston would use him at power forward, starting Beverley/Harden/Parsons/James/Howard. I think he’ll stay as long as Wade opts out and accepts pay comparable to his current production. If he joined Houston they’d win 60+, but it isn’t going to happen.

    • disqus_atlq8Zmtsd

      Go back to Cleveland to play with a one way point guard and a whole lot of nothing? Seriously. Which of the players on Cleveland’s team have shown they can play basketball at a level that would be a plus for a team with championship aspirations?

      • Mike

        How about the #1 draft pick, solid coaching staff, cap room, all-star MVP, and the ability to bring in a third star and solid MLE players?

        • disqus_atlq8Zmtsd

          You mean with a rookie that hasn’t played a minute of NBA basketball in a draft where the best player has foot/back concerns, a head coach that has never coached a minute of NBA basketball, and the MVP of a game in which zero quality basketball is played?

          i say Irving is a one way player, and you think that saying he won MVP of the No Defense Game refutes that?

          • Mike

            I don’t disagree with certain points, but I am saying that Irving right NOW is better than Wade. The #1 pick I believe is Wiggins and believe he is more athletic than Bosh. The Cavs have and WILL spend more on role players. Yes, Blatt who has never coached a game in the nba is 10x the coach that Spolestra is! He’s won more with a lot less!

          • disqus_atlq8Zmtsd

            Irving right now is better than Wade. But Wade is also going to make significantly less than Irving if he opts out as it appears he will. Wiggins may be more athletic than Bosh, but that does not mean that he is currently anywhere near as good as Bosh or will be in the next four years.

            And it is adorable that you’re dogging on Spoelstra when he is one of two active coaches with more than one championship while Blatt has never coached a game with the 3 point line at the NBA range or the paint a uniform width (I believe FIBA still uses the trapezoidal lane, right?) Blatt may be a better coach, but that does not make him a better NBA coach.

            I will readily concede that if Wade, Bosh, and Haslem are making $45 million next year that LeBron would be foolish to stay. That number is looking more like it will be in the range of $28-35 million though.

            Never mind the letter that Gilbert wrote. Bron may not be back to Miami, but there isn’t a chance James is wasting the rest of his prime on a team with an unproven coach, unproven roster, and unproven management.