Report: Rockets have deals in place to ship off Lin and Asik to carve out cap room

Jun 21, 5:25 PM

The Houston Rockets lured guard Jeremy Lin and center Omer Asik by offering them "poison pill" contracts. Three seasons later, it seems as if the Rockets are the ones suffering from ill-effects.

It's no secret that the Rockets are looking to carve out cap room in the hopes of adding a third superstar to join guard James Harden and center Dwight Howard. 

However, the large contracts of Asik and Lin pose as impediments to their plans as both players count for $8.4 million against the cap next season. To complicate matters, both players are actually owed $14.9 million in salary next season.

But, despite their hefty price tags, Sam Amick of USA Today is reporting that the Rockets have deals in place to shed their salaries via teams with excess cap space. 

There is a caveat, however. If the Rockets feel that they cannot land one of their intended targets (Heat forward LeBron James, or Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, have you heard of these guys?), they would like to retain Lin and Asik.

That's not really a surprise given that both players are young and productive. As Houston's back-up point guard, Lin posted respectable averages of 12.5 points, 4.1 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game. Asik, on the other hand, remained a stalwart defensive anchor in the limited minutes he saw behind Howard.

Feature photo courtesy of Reuters/Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 25, 10:17 PM

Report: Rockets finalizing deal to trade Omer Asik to Pelicans

Jun 25, 10:17 PM

The Houston Rockets have finally found a trading partner to take Omer Asik with the hope of landing Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James.

Reports indicate the future first-round pick could be in 2015. 

According to Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports, the Rockets will also send out $1.5 million in cash as part of the deal, which may not be formalized until July due to league rules.

For starters, the Pelicans already owe their 2014 first-round draft pick to the Philadelphia 76ers and - per what's known as the Stepien rule - aren't allowed to owe a first-rounder in consecutive seasons. Yet because that 2014 obligation will be considered fulfilled by the time the draft starts on Thursday night, they would then be free to trade their 2015 pick from that point on.

Asik appeared in 48 games last season, averaging 5.8 points and 7.9 rebounds. As a starter in 2012-13, the 27-year-old averaged a career-high 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds in 82 games.

Feature photo courtesy of Reuters/Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 18, 9:43 AM

Rockets plan to use same 5-point pitch they used for Dwight Howard to lure another star

Jun 18, 9:43 AM

The Houston Rockets want to add another star to their James Harden-Dwight Howard core. That's not surprising, nor is it a secret. 

General manager Daryl Morey has long maintained flexibility with his roster and on the books, first allowing him to trade for Harden and later to sign Howard. The maneuvers this summer won't be as tidy or as easy, but the Rockets don't feel like they're done building yet, desiring to add another big name.

They may be outgunned in dealing for Kevin Love, but there's a clear, albeit somewhat arduous, path to cap space to bring in a top name.

To do so, they'll be using a five-point pitch to lure free agents, the same way they lured Howard from Los Angeles. USA Today Sports' Sam Amick lays out the five points, trimmed below (though we recommend reading his entire piece):

  1. Stability: Fewer coaching changes, a committed owner.
  2. Success: Few playoff misses in the past two decades, proven commitment to fielding competitive teams.
  3. Urgency: "We're always aggressive," Morey told Amick. "Our owner has got aggressiveness in his DNA, and obviously I'm at the tip of his spear."
  4. China: Thanks to Yao Ming and, to a degree, Jeremy Lin after him, players can expand their brand globally from Houston.
  5. Cash: Texas has no state income tax (Florida is the only other NBA state to boast that advantage).
The Rockets sound like they are confident in adding another pillar, with Howard standing as an example to other players of why Houston is a good place to sign.

Feature photo courtesy of USA Today Sports/Andrew Richardson

Jun 6, 10:37 PM

Rockets' Harden: 'I don't know if necessarily the big move would help us out a lot'

Jun 6, 10:37 PM

Houston Rockets guard James Harden thinks the Rockets' dogged hunt for a third superstar is a bit unnecessary.

Reports have swirled around GM Daryl Morey making a play to acquire a third superstar to pair with Harden and center Dwight Howard. In particular, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love has been repeatedly mentioned as a hopeful.

However, Harden believes all the talent they need is already on the roster, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle:

I think we have a lot in our locker room already. A couple of smaller moves would be good for us. I don’t know if necessarily the big move would help us out a lot. We have a lot of great players in our locker room, a lot of young guys that want to get better and want to work. Maybe a couple small moves and we’re right where we want to be.

Harden's comments could be perceived as noble, as he's making a stand for his current teammates.

On the other hand, bringing in a third superstar could take away from Harden's touches. Harden ranked 14th in the league in terms of Usage Percentage, an estimate of possessions used by the player while he's on the court.

However, if the Rockets were to bring in a fellow All-NBA talent like Love, Harden would probably be content with conceding a few touches per game.

Feature photo courtesy of reuters/Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 4, 11:58 PM

Report: Rockets 'confident' they can move Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik

Jun 4, 11:58 PM

The Houston Rockets are expected to be among the more active teams in free agency, but they'll need to clear some cap space if they hope to acquire a star player like LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony.

According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, two players who could find themselves on the trade block are Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. 

According to an individual familiar with the Rockets' plans, they are confident they would be able to move Lin and Asik's contracts because unlike their failed efforts to trade Asik last season, they would be looking to clear cap room, rather than bring back rotation players with similar contracts.

Lin and Asik are each owed about $15 million next season and carry a cap hit of nearly $8.4 million.

The Rockets are also reportedly leaning towards declining the fourth-year option on Chandler Parson's contract, which would give them the ability to match any offer sheet the forward signs with another team. 

Feigen speculates that allowing Parsons to become a restricted free agent shows some confidence on the part of the Rockets in being able to sign a top free agent this summer and not having to wait until after the 2014-15 season.

Feature photo courtesy of Reuters/Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports