Asik Only Back Until He’s Gone For Good


VIDEO: Asik explains frustration with Rockets

HOUSTON — Omer Asik is back.

Back on an NBA bench, where he spent the first two years of his NBA career with the Bulls.

Back in a subservient role because the Rockets won the Dwight Howard derby over the summer.

Back in uniform after taking a couple of games off for a pout, regrouping, walkabout or whatever it is they call a hissy fit in his native Turkey.

Asik, the 7-foot center who acquitted himself quite well during his first season in Houston by averaging a double-double and giving the Rockets needed rim protection, was finally back on the court Tuesday night. But not until there was only 6:49 left in a thumping of the overmatched Celtics.

He made a layup, missed two others, sank a pair of free throws and did his usual post-game bolt from the locker room that is his quickest move on any given night.

“I just want to help my team,” was all Asik would say when tracked down in a hallway of the Toyota Center.

Most likely, the next time Asik helps his team it will be with him wearing a different uniform and the only way he’ll give the Rockets any more help is with what he brings them in return.

With Howard in the middle, Asik wants out, a sentiment he made quite clear in the immediate aftermath of Howard’s announcement that he was relocating to Houston.

On one hand, you can fault coach Kevin McHale for wanting to see what kind of monster he could construct from a “twin towers” lineup of Howard and Asik. After all, he played quite happily and won three championships along side Robert Parish in Boston.

These however are different times and no one will ever confuse Howard and Asik with McHale and “The Chief”. In their time together on the court through the first couple weeks of the season, they were horribly inefficient on offense and almost as weak on defense.

So it it was only a matter of time until McHale pulled the plug on his grand experiment, which occurred last week when Asik played less than five minutes of an overtime loss in Philly and then told the coach he wasn’t available the following night in New York against the Knicks.

Now Asik is available. Having demanded a trade, then skipping the next game at home against Denver due to “an illness,” it’s only a matter of time until the Sultan of Swap, G.M. Daryl Morey, sends him packing. Despite the fact that Asik is the top name on every list of trade candidates, it will probably not happen until at least Dec. 15, the date that most players acquired over the summer are eligible to be dealt and it could linger on until the February trade deadline.

Morey’s dilemma is getting what he considers fair value in return for a player when his market has been depressed by Asik’s actions. There’s also the matter of getting someone to swallow that nearly $15 million he’s due on his contract next season.

But it has to happen. The truth is that once Asik has shown his petulant colors and abandoned his team, there is no going back to having full faith for a club trying to be a contender. On the other side, if you’re a would-be trade partner, would the Celtics even think for an instant about giving up Rajon Rondo, the Lakers trading Pau Gasol, anybody giving up anything truly significant for a player that folded his tent in the face of a professional challenge?

Asik returned the Rockets, apologized to his teammates and gave his mea culpa to reporters at the Tuesday morning shootaround.

“I was just frustrated,” he said. “It’s behind me now. I’m just looking forward to help my team win.”

Teammates Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons said all the right things about accepting Asik back into the fold, but they’re not naive, just good soldiers. They’ve watched Terrence Jones step into Asik’s spot in the starting lineup the past several games and ring up an impressive 24 points on 10-for-12 shooting and grab nine rebounds in just 27 minutes of the thumping on Boston.

The lifeless expression on McHale’s face said everything when he was asked what Asik had to do to earn more than six-plus minutes of playing time.

“There’s another game (tonight in Dallas),” he said. “Everybody is out there playing. We’ll see where the time goes with Omer.”

Right out the door.

19 Comments

  1. Moose says:

    deandre jordan is much better than asik and will continue to improve until his inevetiable injury within the next couple of years. Trade asik for pau if you can but lakers will likely not do that after seeing last night what pau plays like when hes condifent. Realistically they wont get what they want for him and will have to unload him sooner than later

  2. h-town fan says:

    beverly asik for rondo

  3. derrick goes says:

    asik is the last one to blame,the kid has a starter potential,if you dont let him to play then let the kid go,being greedy wont help rockets,you are not gonna get lebron for asik!

  4. White Mamba Fan says:

    Osik to clippers. Dj and cash. Maybe even Dallas. Dalembert would be a decent back up for howard.

  5. ajp1914 says:

    What about this? McHale plays Howard 7 and Omer 5 min every period and looks at their performances every, say, three games, and whoever plays better gets 1 more minute per period next time. Twin Towers was a mistake and it was easy to see that even before the fact. A coach and GM’s job isto see that beforehand: TT thing dropped the numbers of both, decreased Asik trade value, frustrated him, created a kind of bad chemistry btw the players pesonally. .

    It was better to experiment with it during the season and not necessarily at the beginning of games but in the flow. Another thing, staff should do extra effort to bring the towers together socially, personally. They also had to do a lot of video and blackboard work, how to share and space under the rim, showing both of them what can go wrong, what should they avoid etc. to make the TT experiment succeed. Of course they did but it seems not as much as they should. They are two very different characters, Dwight the me-me type, Asik the shy, silent guy. For this kind of experiment to work they must be more than mere teammates, they must be friends.

  6. WHATDA says:

    ASIK should go to MIAMI! yeah baby!

  7. I think Asik needs a change of scenery… He ain’t fit playing w/ Howard…..

  8. HainDomDom says:

    5-Asik
    4-Ibaka
    3-Durant
    2-Westbrook
    1-Anybody

  9. S.f says:

    Completely agree. I love asik and would love to see him get 20-25 a night but the minutes are not there and if he wants out to get them somewhere else he deserves that.

  10. fdsa says:

    teams are profit-seeking corporations, they don’t deserve self-deprecating forms of loyalty – they don’t give loyalty to players unless it makes money-sense. look at boston tossing pierce like a bad habit the second it was useful, even though he bled green his whole career. if a situation isn’t helping a player’s career, he’s not obligated to pretend it does. good for asik, i hope he finds a spot that will let him grow his game rather than warm a bench.

  11. krespino says:

    Let me explain how an objective look at the issue could be:

    - There is no probability that the Rockets have said to Asik, at the time of signing the three year contract, that the signing was for sitting him on the bench. I believe any sane person can understand that. Asik signed for the starting job.
    - Asik did a fairly good job in his only year as a starter, ending with 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds stats; but what was more valuable than his scoring was his defense, which shows in the big difference in last year’s opponents stats of scoring when Asik was on the court and not on the court. Asik helps more in points the opponents can not score. His defensive stats are pretty much at the same level as Howard’s defensive stats of the last year; in one or two minor areas he did even better than Howard.
    - Understandably, Asik will seek to make a favorable contract after the end of next season, and coming from the bench is not what he would need to achieve that. If he can play as the starting center in these two seasons he will be in a much better situation to both improve and establish himself as a starter level center.
    - The present situation has not been created by Asik, it has been created by the Rockets. Signing the player for a three year (final year $15m contract) and then changing their mind snd signing Howard; which is the exact same type of player as Asik, there is no way you can play the two together, both limited to play within 5 feet from the rim.
    - It is only fair for Asik to say, well you have the right to your decision, as a result of which the situation has changed, let me go play somewhere else so that my goals also will be fulfilled.

    • Tobin says:

      Completely agree, well said

    • Francis says:

      I totally agree!

    • XavierQ says:

      When you sign a contract, you are bound to the terms of that contract. The Rockets are under no obligation to trade him or give him playing time unless it is written into his deal.

      Now, it’s in their best interest to trade him to both get pieces they will actually use AND to keep from ruining their reputation with players and agents. But they don’t have to.

  12. wizkid says:

    he should go to the wizards

  13. A.J. says:

    Hey, if J.R. Rider…uh, I mean Dion Waiters can catch himself a fake illness to miss a couple of games, then why can’t the best Turkish player in the NBA.