Haynes: Blazers "Closely Monitoring" Rockets C Omer Asik

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers are reportedly interested in Houston Rockets center Omer Asik if the Rockets land unrestricted free agent center Dwight Howard in free agency.

Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reports that the Portland Trail Blazers are interested in Houston Rockets center Omer Asik if the Rockets land unrestricted free agent center Dwight Howard in free agency.

According to league sources, several teams including the Trail Blazers, are closely monitoring the Omer Asik situation. Reports are out that the 7-0 center is available. If the Rockets get that verbal agreement they so desperately want from Dwight Howard, Asik will be moved.

...

If Portland does get the green light from Houston, don't be surprised if free agent JJ Hickson agrees to a sign-and-trade to get the deal done. If that's out of the question, there are other ways Portland could make it happen.

Jason Quick of The Oregonian writes on Twitter...

As enticing as it is to imagine Omer Asik coming to Portland, it's hard to imagine Houston doing a deal unless it involved Aldridge.

A sign-and-trade with Hickson is not realistic to get Asik. Morey is not stupid.

My point on Asik: I don't think Blazers have the assets necessary to make a deal; especially when hard for them to deal future first

The Rockets met with Howard Sunday night when free agency opened.

The Blazers agreed to trade for Rockets forward Thomas Robinson on Sunday, helping Houston free up the cap space to pursue Howard.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported Sunday that Asik and point guard Jeremy Lin will be on the move if the Rockets can reach an agreement with Howard.

The Rockets are oozing with confidence that they will lure Howard from the Lakers, and are making contingency plans to construct the team around him.

"They already have him, if you talk to them," one league source said.

If the Rockets land Howard, Asik would become expendable. One potential destination that rival executives have identified is Philadelphia, where former Rockets executive Sam Hinkie is the Sixers' new general manager.

...

Teams believe the Rockets will move both Asik and Lin if they close the deal with Howard this week.

Here are Dave's thoughts on landing Asik from back in May.

When his name came up among several centers last year I said he'd be the most likely of the crop to help the Blazers but also speculated that he wouldn't make enough of a difference to justify his cost. Clearly I underestimated him. You also have to consider Portland's situation. Last year they were able to preserve cap space. The question was, "Could you potentially do better than Asik either this summer, mid-season, or next year?" The answer was a probable yes. Now the clock is expiring and nobody better has come along. The Blazers have to chug their beer, put on those closing-time goggles, and make their move. Are you going to get anybody better than Asik with the 10th pick and some cap space you can't save? Unless that better offer comes up right now the answer is no.

Then again that's not just true of Asik but of any center Dwight Howard might displace if he leaves the Lakers. That's why I said yesterday that the Blazers would circle his movement like a seagull circling a crab-digger on the beach. Wherever he stops, they're going to see if they can pick up the remains by facilitating the signing, taking the excess center off of Howard's new team's hands.

Asik, 26, averaged 10.1 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 82 appearances last season. He signed a three-year contract worth $25 million with the Rockets last summer after the Chicago Bulls opted not to match the offer sheet in restricted free agency.

Members of the Blazers front office reportedly met with Asik on July 1 last year.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter
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