Kevin McHale spent plenty of time detailing his plans on how he’ll coach the Rockets now that Dwight Howard is in place for the upcoming season.
He’s going to try to maintain the team’s identity by pushing the tempo, but expects things to dramatically improve defensively, and is going to experiment quite a bit to try to find ways to get Howard and fellow big man Omer Asik on the court at the same time.
What McHale isn’t concerned about, however, is how Asik feels about his role potentially being diminished with Howard on the roster.
Q. Have you had a chance to see how Omer feels about the addition of Dwight?
A. I have not.
Q. Are you concerned about how he reacts to all this? There were indications he was not happy about another center coming in.
A. I didn’t know Omer was the general manager. That surprises me. He’s a player. His job is to come in and play. I haven’t had an opportunity to talk with him about all that, but Daryl (Morey’s) job is to try to improve the team. Omer’s job is not to wonder how that affects him. His job is to figure out how they can play together and be effective.
Fairly strong words here, but it’s quite possible they came across harsher in print than they did when heard spoken directly from the source.
McHale is taking the right approach, though, in that teams with aspirations of playing deep into the postseason can’t have malcontents on the roster who are worried about individual issues like playing time or anything else.
Asik reportedly asked to be traded shortly after Howard had signed, but the team told him they had no such plans at the time. That may still happen before the season is through if teams come to Houston with offers of players who may be a better (and more willing) fit alongside Howard.
But not before McHale tries to make it work, and while that process is unfolding, he won’t even begin to entertain any nonsense where Asik is concerned.