As the Houston Rockets approach their deadline for trading Omer Asik, rumors have started to emerge that the 76ers and Thaddeus Young might be involved. This has a lot of Sixers fans scratching their heads. What does the team want with another center when Spencer Hawes is playing the best ball of his career and Nerlens Noel is waiting in the wings? Omer Asik is a good player, but he doesn’t seem to fit with the Sixers present or future. Is GM Sam Hinkie just trying to do his old boss, Daryl Morey a solid?
Can we interest you in a 3-way?
What everyone is ignoring right now is the potential for a three team trade. The 76ers have a player that the Rockets want in Thad Young. He would slide in perfectly next to Dwight Howard in their fast paced offense. But the 76ers don’t want Asik and the Rockets got rid of all of their attractive assets trading for James Harden and signing Howard. Hinkie looks to be following the Houston model of stockpiling assets, and even though Asik is technically an asset, he is much more valuable on a contending team. A 3rd team looking for an upgrade at center for a playoff push could make the deal worthwhile for the rebuilding Sixers.
Who wants Omer Asik?
Despite what the media have been saying for months, I don’t think the Peilcans are interested. They view Anthony Davis as a Center. That’s why a straight up trade Asik for Ryan Anderson didn’t happen months ago. Asik only makes sense on a team with playoff aspirations, a team that needs to upgrade at center, and a team that prioritizes low-post defense over offense. Only four teams fit that criteria: the New York Knicks; the Dallas Mavericks; the Oklahoma City Thunder; and the Portland Trailblazers. All three teams have plenty of scoring from 1-4, and leaky perimeter defense, making them perfect suitors for one of the top defensive stoppers in the league.
Knicks don’t have the pieces
Iman Shumpert playing next to Michael Carter-Williams would be one of the most fearsome defensive back-courts in the league, but the contracts just don’t fit. The Knicks are way over the salary cap, meaning that any trade would need to have equal or smaller salaries going to the Knicks. Shumpert’s rookie contact only pays him $1.7 million this year, while Asik’s cap hold is $8.4 million. (Asik has an odd contract that pays him $5 million this year and $15 million next year, but the cap hold for each year counts as $8.4 million). While the 76ers could make a trade work by taking back Andre Bargnani’s ugly $11.9 million deal, I can’t see that happening. The Knicks would also probably prefer to wait for Tyson Chandler’s return sand try to use Shumpert in another trade.
Not good enough
The Mavericks currently split their Center minutes between Samuel Dalembert and DuJuan Blair. Yikes. Their best years were with Chandler at center, and Asik is version 2.0, just 27 years old. The problem with any trade is that their assets aren’t the best available. I may revisit this possibility next week, but there is a better deal on the table. Same with the Thunder. They won’t give up Jeremy Lamb because they need him a shooting guard. More importantly, the cost conscious Thunder won’t want to pay that balloon $15 million payment.
The Trailblazers have made a surprising playoff push, but they are relying on journeyman center Robin Lopez to anchor their defense and play starter minutes. Lopez is solid, but Asik is better in every way. Pushing Lopez to the bench and replacing him with Asik could solidify Portland as a contender out West.
Do they have the pieces to get a deal done? Yes. Thomas Robinson, C.J. McCollum, Allen Crabbe, and Meyers Leonard are all prospects who would interest the 76ers. Even after multiple foot injuries, I doubt the Trailblazers would want to part with a first round pick before getting him on the court. But trading the other 3 prospects, or just Robinson and Leonard would make the salaries work. They also have draft picks to add if need be.
Would the 76ers accept a Thad Young trade for Robinson and Leonard? I would. They are two former lottery picks that still have plenty of upside. Thad Young isn’t an easy player to fit in a trade, so getting solid value for him now is a safe bet. If the Blazers include Crabbe or a pick I think it’s a no-brainer, but I would still do it anyway. If the 76ers trade Thad Young, then I think this is the best collection of prospects they could acquire.
What do you think? Who wins this trade? Would you make it? Let us know in the comments below!