After playing just four minutes in the Rockets loss to the 76’ers on Wednesday night, reports of Omer Asik‘s trade request surfaced just before the Rockets win against the Knicks on Thursday.
Jonathan Feigen (Houston Chronicle) was the first to report Asik’s trade request. According to sources, the Rockets have no imminent deal in place. Asik refused to answer questions before and after the game though his agent, Andy Miller, answered to the media.
I would say the situation is very frustrating right now, and we’re trying to work through it. For Omer, the objective has always been to continue to develop and grow as a player. That’s why we came to Houston in the first place. If that objective can’t be met, if we can’t get the right platform to grow and contribute as a player, it’s certainly frustrating.
Coach McHale had some interesting words following the Rockets 109-106 win against the Knicks.
I talked to Omer today, and I don’t know about any trade rumor, but he told me today he wasn’t feeling good and he didn’t know if he could play. That’s why I went with Greg (Smith). I think the way they play and spread guys last night with Spencer Hawes and tonight with (the Knicks’ Andrea) Bargnani and Carmelo (Anthony), it’s just a better matchup for us,” McHale said. “Last night, when they backed up, they went smaller, put Lavoy Allen in, another guy who stayed out, so we went smaller, too. I liked a lot of stuff he and Dwight did together. They were big. They protected the rim. It’s going to be a lot of matchups, a lot how things work. He’s going to have to get out there and play. Will he start against some bigger teams? Possibly.
Brian Windhorst (ESPN.com) said the Rockets continue to deny Asik’s trade request.
In the Rockets win last night, McHale chose to go with other options over Asik. Greg Smith was put into the game before Asik, though left within a minute with a knee injury. When Smith went down, McHale elected to go back to Terrence Jones. Both the Knicks and the 76’ers play a lot of small ball so many expected Asik’s minutes to go down these two games. However, it seemed like McHale had ample opportunity to put Asik in the game but chose to go a different route.
Throughout the night, TNT would show Asik often looking emotionless sitting on the bench. When Asik logged a “DNP-CD” it broke his NBA-leading 239 game-consecutive games streak. Asik has 2 years and $20 million remaining on his contract and is likely on his way out within the next few months.