I’m generally not one to jump all over trade rumors (I avoid them as much as possible actually) but this most recent one involving the Celtics has me slightly intrigued. In the rumor, Brandon Bass and Jeff Green’s names were floated around along with the possibility of a draft pick in exchange for the disgruntled Houston big man, Omer Asik. So before anything materializes, I think we should break this one down!
Asik signed a strange 3 year-25 million dollar contract in 2012. These last two years have earned him $5,000,000 and $5,200,000 but next season that number jumps up to nearly $15,000,000. In his two seasons before the deal with Houston, Asik averaged under 14 minutes per game and less than three points per game. Many tabbed Houston GM Darryl Morey as crazy for handing out that kind of contract to such an unproven player. I personally understood the interest, watching Asik’s rebounding tenacity and interior defense in the 2011-2012 playoff series against the Sixers (particularly in game 6; 10 points, 9 rebounds, and two blocks). In his first season in Houston, Asik made Morey look good on the contract, starting all 82 games and averaging 10 points per game and 11 rebounds per game to helping lead the Rockets to the playoffs for the first time since 2008-2009. The Asik-James Harden combination looked like a star pairing until Dwight Howard came to town. After signing the ex-Laker/Magic star, Morey envisioned Asik and Howard dominating the defensive paint together. But Asik didn’t like the idea much at all. After being moved to the bench, Asik has repeatedly asked for trades and is expected to be moved within the next few days. In recent days, the Celtics name has floated around as a possible destination.
So what could this mean for Boston? Well lets plug Asik into our hypothetical lineup. If a trade were to go down, I’d predict it would involve Brandon Bass and at least one draft pick (probably need two if we take Jeff Green off the table, Celtics really want to keep Green). That would give us a starting lineup of Asik-Sullinger-Green-Bradley-Crawford/Rondo. The addition of the 7 foot Turkish big man would
solve many defensive problems for Boston. Asik’s elite defense in the paint would mean Avery Bradley could be even more feisty in the backcourt, knowing he has help behind him. It would also allow Sullinger to play out a little more, which would’ve been very helpful against the Minnesota shooters last night. In swapping Asik for Bass, the Celtics get younger by a year and much better defense. Bass’s growing offensive game would be missed, but we’re also planning on great growth from Kelly Olynyk to fill that void. Asik managed to shoot 54% last season, over 60% on his 517 shots around the rim. He has spent his entire career playing with elite scoring guards in Chicago and Houston (Derrick Rose and James Harden). While Rondo is an entirely different guard then those two, he still attracts that elite attention on the offensive end and his passing/court vision is much better than both of those guards, meaning the big man would only have better looks. But the main attractions around Asik are his rebounding and defensive prowess. His rebounding percentage last season proved that he’s the second best rebounder in the league, behind only Reggie Evans. That addition to Boston would be dire, as the Celtics currently rank 22nd in rebounds per game and are 6th worst in offensive rebounds allowed. Another aspect to this trade would be the trading of the draft picks. The Celtics have so many picks over the next six seasons that it would be impossible to effectively use them all without sacrificing growth of certain players; that’s a long way of saying there’s only so many minutes to go around!
So would the addition of Asik be good for Boston? I say yes! Absolutely. But with the Asik sweepstakes heating up, the asking price may go up. If Jeff Green is the player Houston demands, then I say no deal. But if we can flip Bass (a former Dwight Howard teammate) then I say pull the trigger. With so many teams interested and so many factors to hinge upon, this is no sure bet whatsoever. To me, the pros outweigh the cons! Let me know in the comment section below if you agree, here’s to hoping Danny Ainge makes the best decision for the team!
Sidenote: Do we remember the last trade the Celtics made involving a big man playing for Kevin McHale?