Friday, January 31, 2014

Why Swapping Jeff Green for Omer Asik is perfect for both teams.


Over the span of the 2013-14 NBA season two things have become extremely clear. One: Jeff Green
is not the future leading scorer of The Boston Celtics. Two: Omer Asik does not want to spend an entire season sitting on the bench behind Dwight Howard.

An honorable mention to those two factoids is that The Houston Rockets do not want Omer Asik on their books next season at 14.5 Million Dollars, a number that is so outrageous because of the way they structured his "Poison Pill Contract". A poison pill deal is one that has a couple years at an affordable number but at the back end it kicks up. The Rockets did this with both Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik as a way to steal the Restricted Free Agents away from New York and Houston.

Jeff Green is set to make 8.7 million this season, 9.2 next year, and then has a player option for 9.2 the following season (2015-16). Even though Jeff doesn't appear to be the potential All-Star we all thought, he still has turned himself into a very good small forward. After leaving OKC he was allowed to return to his more natural position, Boston gave him more opportunity to handle the ball in transition, and even more importantly took away the problem of having to deal with legit power forwards on the defensive end. Green is a consistent double digit scorer with the ability to hit catch and shoot three pointers, put the ball on the floor and finish over people, and most impressive is his ability to go coast to coast. Right now he is being force fed the ball as the team's No. 1 option, and despite having the ability to go off for 30+, he seems to have a hard time consistently bringing that "scorer's mentality".

When Asik signed with Houston in the 2012 off-season he thought he was the future center of the franchise. Along with fellow off-season acquisitions Jeremy Lin and James Harden, the trio started alongside each other in 78 out of 82 games. Harden was named to his first All-Star Game, Lin was consistent scoring 13pts and dropping 6ast a night, and Asik averaged a double double with 10pts and 11reb per game. The Rockets won 45 games and were in the Playoffs for the first time in 4 seasons. Things seemed pretty good in Houston, and they would continue to be... just not for Omer.

On July 13th, 2013 the Houston Rockets announced that they had signed 7 Time All-Star Dwight Howard. To start the season coach Kevin McHale attempted to use a lineup with Dwight Howard playing PF and Asik at the C, but after 8 games the team moved Asik to the bench and Howard back to C, where he is arguably the best in the league. Asik has been both disgruntled and injured in Houston, he hasn't played since Dec. 2nd. Earlier in the year he was nearly moved to Boston in exchange for Courtney Lee and Brandon Bass, but talks fell apart.

Let's now go over why this deal is perfect for both teams.

For Houston:

  • They would be off the hook for Asik's 14.8 Million salary next year
  • They would acquire Jeff Green to play as the team's 3rd/4th scoring option, as well as an effective "stretch 4" to close games with Lin, Harden, Parsons and Howard.
  • Jeff Green would be at an affordable cap hit for the next 2 seasons (assuming he picks up his player option.)
  • They would be swapping a player that they have been effective without almost all season for arguably the best player from another team.
  • Potential starting lineup of Lin-Harden-Green-Jones-Howard
For Boston:
  • They would have a 27 year old 7'0 center who has shown the ability to be one of the top 5-10 centers in the league.
  • They would give up their top scorer, allowing them to dip further into the standings helping with the quest for ping pong balls.
  • Jared Sullinger could move to his natural position at PF. It's my strong belief that this whole season should be used as a means to help Jared develop into one of the top young PFs in this league, the move to his proper position and the newfound need for him to step up more on the offensive end would be a great challenge for the young Rising Star.
  • Even if they someone end up with the No. 1 overall pick and want Embiid, Asik would stand as a valuable piece for Danny Ainge next season. Not only because of his size and ability, but also because of his 14.8 million dollar expiring contract. 
  • Potential starting lineup of Rondo-Bradley-?????-Sullinger-Asik