Berger On Asik, Lakers, Clippers, Lowry

Word is the Rockets now expect to keep center Omer Asik past next month’s deadline and beyond, writes Ken Berger of  Houston worked hard to find a deal last month but the market for the big man right now isn’t so great.  “Teams that are tanking don’t want him to make them better and winning teams want to steal him,” one rival GM said.  On top of that, the teams with room in 2015 can sign him anyway as a free agent on a more reasonable contract.  More from Berger’s column..

  • For now, the Lakers intend to keep Pau Gasol and ride it out with the current group.  In fact, league sources say the Lakers even inquired on Raptors guard Kyle Lowry to help patch up at the one spot, though the talks didn’t go anywhere.  Things could change, however, as the temptation to dump salary and avert a date with the dreaded repeater tax will remain given their current position
  • Doc Rivers is realizing the Clippers‘ roster has more holes than he initially thought and league sources say he’s is looking for frontcourt help on the trade market.  It would help matters if they still had Eric Bledsoe to dangle but he went in the three-team deal that yielded J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley.
  • Meanwhile, the Timberwolves are also after frontcourt help in the form of an athletic rim protector.
  • League sources say the pairing of Bledsoe and Goran Dragic in the Suns backcourt isn’t expected to be a long-term solution for the Suns.  Execs believe Dragic will opt out of his contract following the 2014/15 season, putting pressure on GM Ryan McDonough to make a trade.  Jazz standout Gordon Hayward has put his team in a similar spot as his price may prove too high for Utah when he hits restricted free agency this summer.
  • The Cavaliers and Kings have been among the most aggressive teams in pursuit of trades, league sources say.  On the heels of acquiring Rudy Gay from Toronto, the Kings are “swinging for the fences” on the trade market, one rival executive said.  Sacramento wants to shore up the point guard position, but Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro‘s true long-term target is said to be Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson.
  • In addition to the Lakers, Knicks, and Nets, the Timberwolves, Warriors, and Celtics are among the teams that have inquired about a deal with the Raptors for Lowry, league sources say.  Raptors GM Masai Ujiri is said to have multiple deals he could do for Lowry that would involve receiving an expiring contract in return or slotting him into another team’s trade exception.  For Toronto take on future salary, they’d probably demand a first-round draft choice.
  • The reception to the proposed “wheel system” to determine NBA draft placement has been mixed.  Meanwhile, it has sparked other ideas, including a straight lottery with all 14 non-playoff teams getting an equal shot at the No. 1 pick.
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