Pelicans Set to Acquire Omer Asik From Rockets for Future 1st Round Pick

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Published: June 25, 2014

Just last summer there were feverish debates amongst Pelicans fans about a rumored deal that would have sent sharpshooter Ryan Anderson to Houston for Omer Asik. Some argued that Anderson’s floor spacing was vital to our offense while others argued that Asik’s rim protection and rebounding was more important to the overall success of our team. Eleven months later, Dell Demps found a way to have his cake and eat it too. According to reports, the Pelicans will send a protected future 1st round pick to Houston in exchange for Omer Asik, who is entering the final year of a three year, $25 million deal. The Rockets, who are poised to make a run at Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James, are doing all they can to open up cap space to add a third star next to Dwight Howard and James Harden.

Meanwhile, the Pelicans buy low on Asik, as it was reported that Houston was seeking out two to three times this level of compensation last summer and in February for one of the best defensive centers in the NBA. In addition to his stellar post defense and rim protection, Asik is one of the best rebounders in the entire NBA. His defensive rebound rate in 2012-13 (31.0), ranked him 2nd in the entire NBA. Last season he plummeted all the way down to third. He has also been a top 20 offensive rebounder each of the last two seasons and finished 2nd in total rebound percentage both last year and the year prior. If you are looking for some combination of rebounding and defense at the center position, his only rivals are DeAndre Jordan, and perhaps his former teammate Dwight Howard.

Over the next few days, we will go more in depth on Asik the player and how he fits. But for now, some broad topics.

Contract

This is often misunderstood when it comes to Asik, so let me try to clarify this for everyone. Asik got a 3 yr/$25 million deal from Houston that had a poison pill payment of $15 million in year 3. They did this to keep Chicago from matching, and it was successful. On the salary cap books, it appears as 8.3 million for all three years, but the owner actually pays $5 million the first year, $5 million the second, and $15 million the third. So, Tom Benson will pay Omer Asik $15 million this year, but he will only count for $8.3 million against our cap. The Rockets are also sending the Pelicans $1.5 million in order to help with that balloon payment.

Secondly, I see that some are concerned that he is a free agent after this year. Worry not, because the Pelicans will have full Bird Rights and will be able to go well over the cap to re-sign him if it comes to that. He is likely here as long as we want him here.

Protection

There are conflicting reports on the protection, but it appears that it will likely be protected 1-10 and 21-30, meaning that the Rockets only get the pick if it falls between 11 and 20. The Rockets have done this kind of deal before when they sent Kyle Lowry to Toronto, so I can see this being true. If the Pelicans land in either the 1-10 or 21-30 slots, they keep the pick that year and then we play the same game over again until the Rockets get one of our 1st rounders. Again, this is likely the case. I will update as it becomes official.

(Edit: Some reports now saying that the pick goes to Houston if it lands in the 4-19 range, and the Pelicans get it if it is anywhere else. In a lot of ways, this is pretty much the same thing, as only the first three picks are determined by the lottery, and the others for teams who don’t make the playoffs are determined by record. Pretty much everything went wrong for the Pels last year, and they still only finished with the 10th worst record.

On the other end, the Mavericks were the 8th seed last season and they were slotted 21st in the draft this season. Its possible, with how weak the East is, that all the Pelicans have to do is make the playoffs and they can keep their pick. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.)

Our Cap Situation

I have worked the numbers and there is no way this deal can be done as reported without doing some really creative cap gymnastics or trading one of the Finishing Five or Austin Rivers. Those six guys, plus Ajinca, and our cap holds leave the Pelicans with a little less than $7 million in cap room. Even if you find a trade partner for Ajinca, it is not enough. Now, the other way the Pelicans can do this is if they involve a 3rd team and send out a minimum of $5.7 in salaries or send $5.7 million in non-guaranteed salaries to Houston, which they can waive. The Pelicans don’t have $5.7 million in non-guaranteed salaries right now, so that is not how it is going to work.

The most likely outcomes are that the Pelicans have a deal lined up that sends Rivers somewhere else for a pick or they can send Gordon to another team and take less salary back. In either of those cases, they could then absorb Asik into their cap space after renouncing Bird Rights on Aminu, Smith, Roberts, and Miller. The other downfall if they do it this way is that they would lose their MLE. Once you use cap space, you lose your MLE and bi-annual. You have your room exception ($2.8 million), but that is it. It would likely be hard to lure a quality SF with that smaller exception, though they probably could bring back Morrow for that amount.

This is the next shoe to drop, as a Gordon or Rivers trade has to be next to make this work according to my math. In a vacuum, this trade is somewhere in the B- to A+ range, and how exactly it goes down and the other dominoes that tip over as a result will determine where exactly it falls in that range.

 

61 Comments

  1. Pelican Poster

    June 25, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Can someone comment on how we stay away from a hack-an-Asik strategy?  61.9% at the line, including air balls last year.  The guy did not impress me in the playoffs last year, but the stats speak for themselves and if you guys are excited about it then I should be too. I’d rather see Rivers stay, though.

  2. Pelican Poster

    June 25, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    And I guess this spells the end of our hopes to get Greg Monroe…or can Dell turn around and trade Asik for Monroe straight up?

  3. andregurov

    June 25, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Well, we have our defensive center to play against the other 5 teams in the NBA that play true centers.  I think this MUST be the final year of Monty-ball; we either win big or we get a new coach.  No excuses for Nene to kill us anymore.

  4. Michael McNamara

    June 25, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    Pelican Poster If he is on the court at the beginning of quarters (most likely if Ryno is still here) then, this won’t be an issue.

  5. Mitchy130

    June 25, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Could the $1.5 mil cash payment be some spending money for Dell to buy a pick tomorrow?

  6. MasonGinsberg

    June 25, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Mitchy130 probably more because, while Asik’s cap hit is only $8.3 million, he is owed $15 million in actual dollars. Rockets likely just helping with that cost.

  7. nolahog

    June 25, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Dealer Dell. . . this guy’s always coming up with something.

  8. MasonGinsberg

    June 25, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    andregurov you’re missing the point. Asik does two very crucial things for this team – he rebounds and he protects the rim. It’s not about how he matches up with an individual position.

  9. MasonGinsberg

    June 25, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    Pelican Poster Not sure why this is still a question. Asik fits with Davis better than Monroe anyway, and he’s cheaper.

  10. jdtufts10

    June 26, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Really love the asik move, he fits perfectly into what we need. I think moving Gordon is a must now though. One because I don’t think anyone is ready to give up on Rivers yet, and two, I am not a big fan of having two of your 5 best players come off the bench. Having one of your center pieces come of the bench is vital, but having two of your top 5 coming off the bench has its downfalls. In real hindsight though, I really wish we could take the Evans trade back. I think he is a great player, but man he really doesn’t fit in this roster. If we moved gordon and Evans went into the 2 guard, our starting 5 assumingly would be Jrue, Evans, Aminu, Davis, Asik. The is a defensive monster, but the glaring problem with that lineup is you have one guy on the floor who can shoot above the league average from beyond the arc. Hopefully our next move can somehow land a 3 that can start and add a little spacing for us. With it all being said, love the asik move and in Dell we trust. 

    P.s. If we do move Rivers, any chance we could see a minimum contract for Pierre Jackson? Boy can flat out stroke it, and he is relatively lost cost with a potential high return.

  11. Lebron2Pels2014

    June 26, 2014 at 12:04 am

    The Asik trade make sense he fits here forsure he’s a our version of Splitter there’s no downside after all the 2015 draft class will be the worst in years so giving up that pick is not much a big deal.Demps is not stupid to keep Gordon around he’ll find a way his job is on the line as of right now. The Pels past the rebuild phase 3 years in the making it’s win now mode and with west getting tougher I hope and pray Melo goes to the Bulls and Lebron back to the Heat.

  12. jmbell7

    June 26, 2014 at 12:06 am

    andregurov Except Davis isn’t your typical four man like Pau Gasol or Zebo. Davis can guard the guys like Bosh or Dirk, but could also guard the small ball 4 men like Borris Diaw, Shane Battier and guys like that. We won’t ever have any matchup problems in the post, basically.

  13. 504ever

    June 26, 2014 at 12:08 am

    Love the Asik fit in NOLA and hope he is a long term piece along with Davis, Anderson, Holiday, and Evans.  I see Anjica, Withey, and Babbitt in our front court and Pierre in our back court.  They are all so cheap.
    Wonder if the $1.5M we got from Houston effectively raises our cap space by $1.5M?  If so, will we be able to use our MLE if we renounce two of Smith’s Bird Rights, Aminu’s Bird Rights, or Robert’s Qualifying Offer, and trade the Ely contract back to Houston?  (Don’t see Smith, Aminu, or Roberts returning unless for near NBA minimum.)
    Cap issue will be interesting.  I would trade Rivers for any pick if it meant i could resign Morrow.  (Rivers’s Qualifying Offer, or whatever the phrase is, of $3.1M in 2015-16 seems way too high.  So I don’t regret losing him too much.)
    I assume the pick we lose must be 11-20, and am OK with that if we end up with Asik on a 3-4 year deal at around $8-9M/year.
    Tonight will dream we trade Gordon this off season to get some cap relief, and hope it comes true.

  14. mateor

    June 26, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Erg. So this is effectively three number one draft picks traded away in a row, right? Using tricks to get around the Stepian rule, we traded 2013, 2014, and 2015. I don’t believe that this is a prudent way to build a team.
    Houston is clearing salary to recruit free agents, this potentially helps an in-division opponent  get dominant. It does so by exploiting timing loopholes to get around the consecutive draft pick rule. That rule is there to stop franchises from shooting themselves in the foot.
    Anthony Davis is so valuable, the team may just be good anyway, we haven’t seen them play together long enough to know. But this is a path to a potentially BARE cupboard, and players have shown they will turn down Bird rights to win.

  15. 504ever

    June 26, 2014 at 12:30 am

    mateor Please explain the value of a pick 11-20 versus Asik, and why you didn’t count the draft picks we received in trade, Withey and Pierre, in your post above?

  16. macs21

    June 26, 2014 at 12:31 am

    mateor Actually it’s nowhere near as big of a problem these days as it used to be as contracts are shorter and it’s harder for team to be capped out for more than 2 years.
    meanwhile, if you want evidence that the draft is not a great way to guarantee success either just look at the league. The only team who rebuilt quickly through the draft is OKC. Most of the other teams who have tried to do the same are stuck in the lottery.
    Give me Omer Asik over the 14th pick any day of the week. Same goes for Jrue over a non-existent Nerlens and whoever Philly get with the 10th pick. There’s a reason so many teams are trying (and struggling) to trade out of this years super deep draft.

  17. nolafredo

    June 26, 2014 at 1:00 am

    Incredible.  Just when everyone’s talking about the Pelicans making a move to get into this year’s draft, Dealer Dell goes and gets one of the best bigs in the NBA for right now in exchange for next year’s pick.
    Asik should fit perfectly for the team and specially alongside Anthony.  With 3 draft picks, Dell has gotten two All-Star caliber starters for the Pels.  
    Obviously the question now becomes what next?  Would any team take on EG’s contract given his health issues? That would clear up enough space to build around a starting 5 of Asik, Anthony, Aminu, Evans and Holiday or to finally grab a starting-caliber SF.  We’d still have Anderson, Smith, Withey and Ajinca up front and Morrow, Jackson, Rivers and Roberts in the backcourt.

  18. Sportnlyfe

    June 26, 2014 at 2:02 am

    The money hit for Asik won’t necessarily put the Pelicans over the cap, if the right players are moved out, but what’s the big deal about going over the cap, anyway? The strategy this last season was about getting all the right pieces in place to accelerate the rebuilding process, forgetting about the cost. Then too, Benson got handed a sweetheart of a deal in the Pelicans, which cost him about 1/6 of the Clippers price tag, but has likely accrued at least a 100% increase in value because of the Clippers sale. Based on last year’s moves, Benson probably wants the Pelicans to get good sooner rather than later, so he can still be “in that number” when it happens.  (This just in: He can’t take it with him.) Since all of Asik’s money doesn’t count against the cap, why wouldn’t Benson go over the cap this year and next? In 2015, at the latest, Gordon is history, and that gets the team some cap savings in time for AD’s max extension. Go big now, Tom, before it’s time to go Home.

  19. lsucpolk

    June 26, 2014 at 3:41 am

    Dell is the man.  But this is all null and void, if four of our top five guys are sitting on the bench in suits for most of the year, nursing various injuries.  We HAVE to stay healthy, and even learn to play through injuries.

  20. bucklezzzman

    June 26, 2014 at 4:18 am

    jdtufts10 Aminu being re-signed and placed in that starting 5 would be an absolute NIGHTMARE offensively, no matter how great the defensive potential would be. Lol need  a 3&D guy at SF, hopefully Dell can now rid us of Gordon to help acquire that need

  21. shantadiva

    June 26, 2014 at 5:55 am

    Can’t they trade Gordon for a pick?

  22. bradlaborde

    June 26, 2014 at 7:12 am

    I need to see how this plays out before I go on liking this.
    Pels have very little cap flexibility, trade assets, and (after cutting salary) depth moving forward.

  23. Lebron2Pels2014

    June 26, 2014 at 7:35 am

    xman20002000 Lebron2Pels2014 Gordon is the only goof that Demps should be accounted for because with an cancer like Gordon still on the roster the franchise will still be hold back from improving.

  24. thodbrick

    June 26, 2014 at 8:21 am

    too bad Nerlens Noel wasn’t available on a rookie contract or one of those Lopez brothers

  25. Jimb0

    June 26, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Creative cap gymnastics?  Loomis is your guy.  I dont know how involved or if he is even still involved with the team, but if there was anyone I had faith in to work the salary cap to keep our guys, it’s Loomis.

  26. ryanschwan

    June 26, 2014 at 8:41 am

    504ever Nothing raises cap space.  That’s just a business incentive for the Pelicans.  “I know you have to pay Asik 15 million this year.  Here’s 1.5 million to make that hurt a little less.”

  27. ryanschwan

    June 26, 2014 at 8:44 am

    shantadiva Doubt it.  His value is mediocre and his contract is huge.

  28. Lebron2Pels2014

    June 26, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Lol some putz on ESPN.com said does Benson still own the team is Demps still the GM because it looks like an Shinn/Bower like trade.

  29. PelicanSaints

    June 26, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Aminu is probably history.

  30. PelicanSaints

    June 26, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Dude Aminu will not be on this team. ..much less as a starter. ..lol

  31. Jimb0

    June 26, 2014 at 10:34 am

    I have no idea how the cap works, but how does this deal affect our chances of going out and trying to land Tucker or one of these other guys in this MLE tournament you all have going on right now?  Does it affect our chances of being able to re-sign Morrow when he opts out?

  32. jmbell7

    June 26, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Hopefully…

  33. andregurov

    June 26, 2014 at 11:00 am

    MasonGinsberg andregurov I understand the benefits that Asik brings, and I think they are quite necessary for the team, however redundant Asik’s skills may be when compared with Davis.  The problem I have is that by putting Asik at C (basically, in the paint all the time) we’ve potentially shifted Davis AWAY from that area.  That may be good in the long run, as we’ve already seen Monty will not play him against opposing 5s.  As far as I knew, we already had an elite rebounder and shot-blocker on the team, and putting Asik in the lineup will probably mean more Davis on the perimeter.  Is that what we want?  How much time will Asik actually play on the court each game?  And how much offense will we generate with him out there?  He clearly is a plus defensive player/rebounder, but I worry his offensive game will leave us with echoes of the Steamer.  Perhaps I am simply wrong (my wife says there is always an excellent chance of that!).
    My doubts aside, it is exciting to see more pieces to the puzzle.

  34. jmbell7

    June 26, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Exactly. We traded 3 picks for 2 starters (and 1 all star). The odds of two picks out of a #6, #10, and what will likely be a mid or upper teens pick becoming starters is extremely unlikely.
    I like to visit the old hornets247 article the guys did about the value of a draft pick. Most picks DON’T pan out, so acquiring two very good players with good fit for a few picks is excellent.

  35. mateor

    June 26, 2014 at 11:59 am

    504ever mateor
    I didn’t mention Withey and Jackson because I do not expect them to have an impact at the NBA level. Been wrong before, though.
    I disagree with you guys I guess. I have been rooting for this front office to succeed, but I disagree with their choices. The protection at the top is only for top three. If we really want Asik, he should be available, at around 10 mil per, next year, when he is a free agent. The trade is a first rounder for one year of Asik. If you think having his Bird rights is worth a potential top-10 pick, then we disagree.
    I like Asik as a player, and as a fit on this team. I consider this trade to be an improvement over the Jrue trade. But I also think that since we did make the Jrue trade, this Asik move becomes rash. Teams rarely (if ever) flourish without infusions of young talent. 
    You guys see A.Davis and think of him as a talent the NBA hasn’t seen since Lebron James. Me too. I also remember Lebron taking his team in Cleveland to the finals, but leaving after his first extension. That front-office kept grabbing “vets” to win now, instead of having the patience to build. Shaq, Mo Williams (another “all-star” for you), Antwan Jameison, Szczerbiak, Larry Hughes, etc.
    Those Cavs quit getting young guys after Lebron. No draft picks in (1 pick in 2004, none in 2005, none in 2007, , 1 pick in 2008, none in 2010). Those teams are now thought of as sucessful but empty, only lifted by the transcendence of Lebron.
    I fear that our current roster and trajectory mirrors those team’s constructions, and worry that Davis will end up yearning for an organization that values patience and structure over immediate satisfaction. Hope to be wrong.

    Go Pels.

  36. marios123

    June 26, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I was under the impression that a team cannot trade its first rounder two years in a row. So how is this trade possible?

  37. CoReMeGa

    June 26, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Amazing… I think this is one of the best moves that we could of made this offseason!! He’s absolutely a top 3 REB / def C.. And probably a top 6 C!.. Having him next AD.. Wow

  38. CoReMeGa

    June 26, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Somebody buy DELL a lap dance!!!

  39. CoReMeGa

    June 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    It gives is amazing options to match up however we have to. We now basically have a 3 header matchup monster with Asik Ryno and AD.. So excited!!!

  40. CoReMeGa

    June 26, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    I think Whithey and Jackson will both be looked as top 15 players from that draft if you were to do a redraft in 5 yrs!
    Plus having Asik to play in practice every day against Whithey… I think he could be a poor mans Asik in a few years

  41. CoReMeGa

    June 26, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    We get an absolutely angry and frustrated crazy Turkish man with just the right amount of enforcer in him (I wouldn’t mess with him).. Because he was stuck behind D12 all year… In a contract year!
    Yeah.. It was a really gr8 trade!

  42. Jason Calmes

    June 26, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    marios123 You can trade every first round pick. You can’t at any point in time be lacking all first round picks in back to back future years.
    Example, the pelicans owe the 2014 first to philly. So, they can’t trade the 2015 one UNTIL THAT IS CONVEYED. If they did, they would lack consecutive future picks. Then, they can trade the 2015.
    They could trade their own 2015 pick tonight if they picked up another in some other deal . . . whose pick it is does not matter, but the team can’t mortgage the future in that particular manner until the future is upon you.
    They can repeat that forever.

  43. Kempleton

    June 26, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I cannot wait to watch Omer Asik in a Pelicans uniform! Dealer Dell is on a roll again. Looking forward to the next move…

  44. Lebron2Pels2014

    June 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Let me guess this team trade for a defensive center and still have that cancer diva Gordon.Goofing it up is what Demps is doing unless there’s half court shot miracle that will get rid of Gordon and anyone for picks and expires all I can say is rebuilding years 4 and 5 a’comin

  45. Lebron2Pels2014

    June 26, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    CoReMeGa Not yet

  46. yaboytonez

    June 26, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I don’t know how to take this news. He’s here for just a year. We gave up a 1st rounder for this guy. Are we still trying to dump Gordon & get a 1st rounder?

  47. ryanschwan

    June 26, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    yaboytonez I don’t get that at all.  He’s under contract for a year.  He can re-sign with the Pelicans afterwards – and the Pelicans will own his Bird rights so can go over the cap to keep him.
    As for dumping Gordon, people have to lose the idea you’re getting something good back in that trade right now.   Our best hope is he doesn’t like playing in New Orleans much and excercises his Early Termination Option at the end of the year and goes elsewhere.
    Actually, our best option is he regains his explosion and plays hard.  Not holding my breath there.

  48. yaboytonez

    June 26, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    So we’re stuck with Gordon? Figures. I’d expect in order to keep Asik we’d have to make the playoffs. I’ll reserve judgement until the hole at SF is filled, Ryno comes back, & Jrue gets cleared.

  49. ljoseph242001

    June 26, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    I like the Asik move i think we can re-sign him at the end of the season because i think this team is capable of making the playoffs and would have sneaked into the playoff this last season if not for all the injuries. Hope we just don’t get rid of RIVERS!!!!!

  50. bucklezzzman

    June 26, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    You sound ridiculous lol

  51. bucklezzzman

    June 26, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    mateor 504ever “Teams rarely (if ever) flourish without infusions of young talent.” 
    And we’re still like the youngest team in the league so how much younger do you want us to be?! Put together a team of teenagers?! Lol your comment also couldn’t be more from the truth. In reality, its ALWAYS veteran teams (with high IQ) that consistently win, and contend for titles regularly. OKC has really been the only exception to the rule in this century. So if anything we need an infusion of smart, veteran, role players.

  52. mateor

    June 26, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    bucklezzzman mateor 504ever We have a veteran team. Young, but still vets. Jrue, Tyreke, Andersen, Morrow, Gordon. Those guys are way past rook deals.

  53. mateor

    June 26, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Jason Calmes marios123 It’s keeping the fans happy, I guess,

  54. bucklezzzman

    June 26, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    None of those guys are over age 25 except Ryno, Morrow is probably gone and only two of all those guys have played in the postseason. Like I said, we’re STILL a Top 5 youngest team in the league, we do NOT need more youth but experienced older vets

  55. Lebron2Pels2014

    June 26, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    bucklezzzman Look who thinks he know it all get use to it you and many others are living in a fantasy world.Im not ridiculous I just say what’s true.

  56. Lebron2Pels2014

    June 26, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Here’s the good and bad news Lebron will be staying with the Heat, Melo could end up with the Bulls and Houston and Dallas look like fools once again and the bad Gordon still here and no progress on the trade front good night NOLA.

  57. bucklezzzman

    June 27, 2014 at 12:07 am

    I’m living in a fantasy world, but your username is “Lebron2Pels2014″…………. Lol

  58. mateor

    June 27, 2014 at 1:06 am

    bucklezzzman If we keep trading draft picks we won’t have that problem to worry about anymore.

  59. bucklezzzman

    June 27, 2014 at 1:37 am

    mateor bucklezzzman yea as if Lebron would be more enticed to play with Noel, a guy who’s still overseas and a 2015 rookie picked in the 20s over Jrue & Asik.. just stop it man smh

  60. Lebron2Pels2014

    June 27, 2014 at 6:59 am

    bucklezzzman Who the hell cares get a life and a job.

  61. bucklezzzman

    June 27, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Lebron2Pels2014 I have both, thanks. Lets keep it about basketball here, no need to attack one’s personal ish lol

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