Omer Asik

Reports: Houston Rockets pull out of Asik trade talks, will keep him for now

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Omer Asik may not like it, but he’s staying a Rocket for now. Probably.

After weeks of talks — not to mention media and fan speculation — Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey has looked at the trade market for Asik and decided it’s not good enough.

The Rockets have pulled out of all Asik trade talks and will keep the big man for now, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (among others).

Asik has requested a trade several times and switched agents in an effort to get moved. He has not been happy since — following a strong breakout season for him — the Rockets went out and got Dwight Howard to take over at center.

This is all about gaining leverage — the way to get the best deal on a new car is to be willing to walk out of the dealership without the keys.

Morey felt everyone knew about his self-imposed trade deadline of this Thursday — because they did (after Friday any players he gets back in an Asik trade cannot be packaged with others in a follow-up trade). With that Morey felt he was only getting lowball offers, so he walked out of the dealership without the keys.

Reports had the Rockets talking to the Celtics for a deal involving Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee and a future first round pick. There also had been talk of a deal with Philadelphia, likely involving Spencer Hawes among others.

There is little chance Asik is with the Rockets after the Feb. 20 trade deadline, but it’s not going to happen now…

Probably. Again, if you want to put pressure on the other side in a negotiation you walk away from the table. The Rockets did that, it’s possible a team caves in the next 24 hours and gives Morey a deal he wants.

Otherwise, this cloud follows the Rockets around for a while longer.

Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)

Gordon Hayward (20), del Jazz de Utah, intenta un enceste ante Thon Maker (7) y Michael Beasley (9), de los Bucks de Milwaukee, en el duelo del viernes 24 de febrero de 2017, en Milwaukee. (AP Foto/Benny Sieu)
AP Foto/Benny Sieu
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Are we obligated to call Gordon Hayward “deceptively athletic”?

The Bucks have something special in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and they think they have something special in Thon Maker.

But Hayward jammed all over those two in the Jazz’s 109-95 win last night.

First, he got Antetokounmpo:

Then, he got Maker:

Report: Lakers working toward buyout with Jose Calderon; Warriors, Rockets interested

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18:  Jose Calderon #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a called foul during the second half of a game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on November 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.

As was expected, the Lakers are now talking about buying out the Spanish national and letting him head to a playoff team for a stretch run, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….

Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.

Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.

Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.

Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.

There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.

Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)

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Bobby Portis didn’t enjoy getting blocked by Marquese Chriss. And Portis sure didn’t appreciate how Chriss fell on him.

But it was all worth it (for me, at least) just to see the Bulls forward make a face that reminded me of this:

Dwyane Wade with dagger dunk to seal Bulls win vs. Suns (VIDEO)

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The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.

The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.

The Bulls won 128-121. Devin Booker led the Suns with 27.