The NBA free agency is officially underway. Though teams can’t sign players until July 11th, verbal commitments are now allowed.
Daryl Morey, the Rockets general manager wasted no time in his quest to find a center. He immediately tweeted; “Meeting w/Omer Asik in a few minutes — tell him how much you want him to be in Houston! He will see your msg live – include #Asik2Houston.”
While many Rockets fans responded resoundingly with the #Asik2Houston hash tag, others were quick to call out the obvious, was this now considered the game changing move for the Rockets? A center that averaged 3.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1 block per game last season, would somehow be the big free agent singing that would move the Rockets forward?
As the night progressed it was reported the offer would hover around the 8 million dollar mark, which many agreed was pricey for the big man. It is important to keep in mind that centers are a rare commodity in the NBA. Many mediocre centers are overpaid, but because the market demands it, teams are willing to make the investment.
Take for example DeAndre Jordan, a gifted and athletic big man who has raw talent. Jordan became a coveted free agent last season, and joined “Lob City,” which made perfect sense considering his best attribute is dunking the basketball. DeAndre’s astronomical salary ($10,532,977, $10,986,550, $11,440,123) set the bar for players like Asik, who will be expecting a substantial amount from the Rockets. Asik is a restricted free agent, so the Bulls are in control of his destiny depending on if they are interested in overpaying for the center.
The advantage the Rockets hold is that they don’t have a single center on the roster. Morey can make a strong pitch to Asik with money, and guaranteed starting playing time. The Rockets are still interested in retaining Marcus Camby’s services, but at 38 years of age, you can only ask for so much from the “Camby man”.
Asik won’t make this team a contender, but he will alleviate the desperate need at center for the Rockets.
Chris Broussard has reported that restricted free agent guard Eric Gordon will be visiting Houston on Monday. Gordon is seeking a max 4-year $58 million dollar deal sources say. Eric does have health issues, but has proven when healthy he is all-star material. It’s likely the Hornets will match any contract offered to Gordon, but the Rockets as promised will make a strong pitch towards Gordon.
Pau Gasol rumors have continued to surface, and the Rockets still seem to be associated with the Spaniard. It has been reported the team will likely keep Kevin Martin who has an expiring contract, shop Kyle Lowry who has a friendly contract, and continue to shop Luis Scola who has gotten heavy interest from the Brooklyn Nets.
With the draft over, and multiple holes in the roster, the Rockets have some major readjusting ahead. Morey has never been a GM that sits on his hands, but it’s now time to make a significant splash, and move this team forward.