Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said again on Saturday that he is not looking to deal Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik and gave another convincing reason:
“The reality is James (Harden) and Dwight (Howard) want to play with Jeremy and Omer,” Morey told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “I’ve been kicked down to assistant GM. They’re going to be here.”
Since the beginning of July, Houston Rockets’ attempts to acquire and eventual acquisition of NBA All-Star Howard have sparked trade rumors that point guard Lin and center Asik would be placed on trading block. The purpose, as speculated, was to acquire a point guard with higher scoring capability while playing with Harden and Howard.
However, Morey has denied the rumors of trading Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. He cited Lin’s ability as an attacking guard and him being a great fit with Howard as well as affirming Omer’s defensive capability and how a combination with Howard would give Rockets the best (centers) in the league.
On Saturday, Howard, who would be supplanting Asik as the starting center, was introduced at the Toyota Center as the newest member of the Rockets. His number was 12. That same day, Morey was more specific about the indispensable role of Asik.
“When we didn’t have Omer out there last year, we (stuck),” he said. “I mean, we were terrible. That was where we lost games. When we had Omer out there, we were top-10 defensive team. Now we have a defensive player of the year and Omer. That position is so important if you’re going to have a solid defense. Now we have two of the best in the league. I’m very excited.”
Meanwhile, the seven-time All-Star, seven-time All NBA team selection, five-time All-Defensive member, and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Howard expressed his understanding of how Asik may feel as he joins the team.
“Omer might not really see the total big picture right now, and I totally understand. He’s a young guy and he wants to really be respected. I would tell him when I see him, ‘You’ve done a great job on this team. I’m going to help you and this team get better.’ He’s a big piece to us winning championship if we’re going to make that run.
“He and Jeremy Lin will be very good playing with me. I’m going to do whatever I can to make those guys’ lives better. I realize how much they mean to this team,” said the 27-year-old center.
Howard joined NBA in 2004 right after an outstanding high school career at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy. He was selected first overall by the Orlando Magic. He later led the Orlando Magic to the three division titles and one conference title.
With the NBA All-Star 6-11 center Howard now anchoring the middle, the mix with James Harden, Jeremy Lin, and Chandler Parsons around him makes the Houston Rockets a formidable team.