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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Houston Rockets are going “all-in” in their efforts to get free agent center Dwight Howard to sign a max-contract with them. Part of that ‘all’ may be to trade center Omer Asik, to clear salary cap space (or trade for) for role players that may benefit the Rockets more than another center with them.
The Sixers could be a possible destination for Asik, according to a report from Ken Berger of CBS Sports.
Sixers GM Sam Hinkie is obviously familiar with Asik, as he was part of the Rockets front office that signed him prior to last season. Asik has two years left on his contract, worth just about $20 million. But because of the structure of the deal, the Sixers would have a cap hit of about $8.4 million per season.
Asik started all 82 games for the Rockets last year, averaging 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds on 54% shooting. Asik is a physical, defensive presence, and would instantly improve the Sixers interior defense. It doesn’t seem like he’d be a particularly apt fit next to Nerlens Noel, but Noel figures to miss at least half of the upcoming season.
At this point, it’s not about the Sixers building a team, it’s about clearing salary or obtaining assets that may be valuable to another team. Asik, at the very least, would be an attractive trade piece as a solid big man on an expiring contract next season.
Berger’s report does not mention who the Sixers would trade for Asik, though Thaddeus Young’s salary is close to a match, and he may be a player that fits better next to Howard than Asik does. The benefit as well is that Young’s contract, if you include his player option, is a year longer than Asik’s.
The Rockets are reportedly looking for a trade partner to take Jeremy Lin as well, but the Sixers are not mentioned as a possible destination.