After much posturing early last season, where Asik’s name dominated headlines, finally Morey and the big man from Turkey got their way and he is on his way out of H-Town.
In addition to freeing up cap space for an offseason of wooing Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, the Rockets also receive a protected 2015 first-round pick from New Orleans. If the pick falls between 4-19, Houston will receive the pick, otherwise it stays with New Orleans. New Orleans also receives $1.5 million cash from Houston. There is also the possibility that other Pelicans’ move to Houston when the deal is finalised around July 10th.
This move could be the first of many dominoes to fall in the 2014 summer, with point guard Jeremy Lin now in the hot seat in Houston as Morey tries to unload his deal to accommodate either Anthony or James or possibly, both.
What does it mean, fantasy wise?
Well obviously, a big part of it has yet to be determined, in that we don’t know who Houston brings in with the cap space they have created. But what we do know, is that Asik is now going to be making his money on the block in The Big Easy.
There is already a dominant big man in New Orleans — Anthony Davis. So dominant, in fact, that I have Davis listed as the number two player on the Red Rock 150. But, what Asik will bring to the Pelicans is an interior presence. The Pelicans had a terrible interior defence, despite Davis’ outstanding block numbers and now they are bringing in a true rim protector.
No offence to Jason Smith and Alexis Ajinca, but Ask is a massive upgrade over those two players and will ease some burden on Davis, allowing him to potentially increase his numbers, particularly offensively. As players shy away from challenging Asik at the rim, Davis is going to the chance to get more weakside blocks and the prospects of this are tantalising.
As for Asik, he should return to his 2012-13 form with Houston, when he averaged 10.1 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in his first and only season as a full-time starter. This should be the expectation for Asik in his first season in a Pelican’s uniform.
Asik is a liability at the free throw line, but he did improve his percentage up to 61.9 this season and he now becomes a guy who should be drafted in all leagues. Depending on your team building strategy, Asik could be a top 50 guy or a top 100 guy.
Regardless, this move will have big repercussions on the summer’s free agency and will be the first of many decent players moving zip codes in order to maintain maximum flexibility.
Watch this space!