Rockets agree to 3-year, $25.1 million deal with Omer Asik

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The Rockets have been looking for a center to hang their hat on since Yao Ming retired. On Sunday, they came to terms with a player they hope will at least do the job for a little bit.

Multiple sources, including Yahoo Sports report that Houston has come to an agreement with restricted free agent center for the Bulls, Omer Asik on a three-year, $25.1 million deal.

Asik is the perfect free agent for fans and pundits to debate. Low-minutes, high production, defensive-minded, big man in a smallball world free agent center who a contender (the Bulls) hold the rights to match to. Maybe most interesting is that Asik falls under the Arenas rule for contracts. So if the Bulls match, it’s under a $5 million – $5 million-$15 million distribution over three years. If they don’t, the Rockets get him for just over $8 million a year.

It’s easy to claim that Asik is overpaid, due to his low points production. He’s not a scorer. He plays limited minutes, and can pick up fouls and lose energy quickly. But he’s also one of the best defensive centers in the league if you look at him from an advanced metrics standpoint. No surprise that would interest Daryl Morey. Asik was in the 96th percentile in points allowed per possession this season, and in the 77th percentile in the post, playing heavy minutes. He’s a legit seven-footer who rotates well.

But was it Thibdoeau’s system in Chicago that enabled him to play that well defensively, or his own talents? The answer is a bit of both. But there’s no reason that with the right system, he can’t duplicate that production in Houston. And while the league has shifted towards a smallball approach, having a legit big man is still a huge advantage.

For the Bulls, the pricetag may be too steep. Even if they were to amnesty Carlos Boozer, in 2015 the Bulls would be on the books for a huge amount of money. They may have to let Asik head out to have room for other decisions.

Whether you consider Asik to be overpaid or a value deal, the Rockets have a center. Which would make you think that it’s possible they may be heading away from the plan to acquire Dwight Howard. For now, the Rockets continue to stockpile quality players and prompting discussion.

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

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The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

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When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.

 

Memphis Grizzlies sign former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.

 

Report: Even after Kyrie Irving requests trade, Carmelo Anthony still focused on Rockets, not Cavaliers

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Carmelo Anthony was reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets or Cavaliers. Cleveland never seemed overly interested, but Houston was. Anthony became set on the Rockets, even reportedly expecting a trade to Houston.

Then, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavs.

That has thrown everything for a loop. Maybe Cleveland is more keen on trading for Anthony now? The Knicks are reportedly interested in trading Anthony and draft picks for Irving.

But any deal still depends on Anthony’s approval, and it’s now unclear he’d still grant that for the Cavaliers.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

However, a source close to Anthony said late Friday that the All Star forward is focused on getting a deal done with Houston.

Consider this another indication LeBron James will leave Cleveland next summer. Of course, Anthony might have other reasons for preferring Houston. But when reading tea leaves on LeBron’s future, this is a clue.

I doubt LeBron has completely decided his plan, and he hasn’t even necessarily shared his thinking with Anthony, a close friend. Remember, LeBron edited his coming-home essay while on a flight with an unknowing Dwyane Wade, another close friend. But it was one thing for LeBron to strand Wade in Miami, a desirable city where Wade was happy even before LeBron arrived. It’d be something else entirely for LeBron to ditch Anthony in Cleveland. If LeBron is considering leaving, maybe he’d tell Anthony to stay clear.

Anthony could also be operating without hearing directly from LeBron. But if LeBron’s friend believes LeBron might leave, that’d still say something (though obviously not as much).

Back to the possibility that Anthony prefers the Rockets for other reasons. What happens if New York and Cleveland agree to a trade? Does Anthony still hold out for his top choice? Or does he relent and accept what was once his second choice? For now, it seems as if he’s still angling for Houston and will cross other bridges if he reaches them.