Nearly a year after the Pelicans first reportedly made Omer Asik available, he remains on the trade block in New Orleans, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. A league source tells Blakely that Asik is “very much available” once again this season.
The news doesn’t come as a real surprise, since Asik was the subject of trade rumors last year as soon as he become eligible to be dealt on December 15. Although his name surfaced again several times before the 2016 deadline, the veteran center ultimately stayed put, with his pricey five-year contract negatively impacting his trade value. A year later, following the NBA salary cap’s jump from $70MM to $94MM+, Asik’s long-term deal may be a little more palatable.
Asik is currently in the second year of a five-year contract that is fully guaranteed through 2018/19. His cap hit for this season is about $9.9MM, as he continues to play a modest role in New Orleans, contributing just 3.3 PPG and 6.0 RPG in 17.5 minutes per contest.
As Blakely notes, the Celtics are among the teams that have had interest in Asik at various times in the past. However, a league source tells the CSN scribe that Boston is unlikely to make a move anytime soon unless it drastically improves the team’s chances of making a deep playoff run. In other words, the first priority for GM Danny Ainge is to land a star — if that’s not possible, he may circle back to a secondary piece or two closer to the deadline.
While Ainge may be prioritizing an impact player, acquiring a solid rim protector and rebounder would help balance the Celtics’ lineup in the second half of the season. The team has also been linked to Andrew Bogut, though the Mavs aren’t shopping the former No. 1 pick at this time.