It's the first day of NBA free agency and there's already a Sixers "rumor"! Hooray?
Last night, a report from Ken Berger of CBS stated that Houston Rockets players PG Jeremy Lin and C Ömer Aşık are being made available by trade. The reason they are available is directly related to the Rocket's pursuit of Dwight Howard, who's largely considered to be the biggest prize of the 2013 free agent crop. Successfully signing Howard would obviously make fellow big man Asik expendable.
So could the Sixers be a logical trade partner due to Sam Hinkie's prior experience in Houston's front office? Here's what Berger had to say:
If the Rockets land Howard, Asik would become expendable. One potential destination that rival executives have identified is Philadelphia, where former Rockets executive Sam Hinkie is the Sixers' new general manager.
Hinkie was part of the Houston front office that scored both Asik and Lin with backloaded offer sheets as restricted free agents last summer.
More than anything, this sounds like a lot of speculation. There's no real sources attached to this rumor; it's just the guesses of NBA executives elsewhere in the league. That said, it's important to note that Hinkie did actually praise the Asik signing in his intro presser here in Philly. Clearly, Hinkie values the guy. It's not crazy to think the Sixers GM would be interested in acquiring him.
There's a couple of problems with this idea, though. First, Asik doesn't seem to fit the 2013 Sixers rebuilding model: Tankadelphia Engaged. Asik is a good player (10.1 PPG and 11.7 RPG last year) who would help the Sixers win games. While it's not practical to expect the Sixers to fill out their roster entirely with young guys with upside on cheap, short-term deals, it's the ideal situation at this phase in the team's rebuilding effort. Signing established veteran players who are good now but offer no upside doesn't tremendously benefit the Sixers in the long run.
Furthermore, it's fair to question how Asik would fit in with rookie big man Nerlens Noel. The exact date of Noel's return this year is unknown, but that doesn't mean the Sixers need to acquire a player like Asik to fill the spot. Noel needs to be seeing quality minutes on the floor when he gets healthy. He shouldn't be stuck behind a veteran like Arnett Moultrie was under Doug Collins' coaching.
Then there's a matter of trade compensation and salary. I'm not even sure what the Rockets would want in return, but it's not worth giving up valuable assets for him. Asik has 2 years left on a deal that owes him a little under $17 million. That's not unreasonable but it's probably too rich to make sense for the Sixers.
The only way I see this trade being realistic is if Hinkie believes Asik can be an asset that the Sixers can flip for a valuable return in the future. Asik just doesn't make sense as a long-term option in Philadelphia. In a way, it's a shame because Asik is a nice player that I like and enjoy. But the Sixers are now in a rebuilding phase and it's just not the right fit.
Sorry, Rockets/Omer. It's us, not you.