Omer Asik isn’t done with the Rockets just yet.
After being emotionally unready to play two games following a trade request, Asik continued his resurgence in a win over the Grizzlies on Monday. Since bottoming out with his back-to-back DNPs, Asik has played 7, 12, 13 and 21 minutes.
Against Memphis, the Rockets trailed by 12 at halftime, because they grabbed just 14 defensive rebounds to the Grizzlies’ 13 offensive rebounds. Not only did that give Memphis 16 second-chance points, it prevented Houston from getting into its transition offense.
Asik played 14 minutes in the second half alone – more than he’d played in any of the Rockets’ last seven games – and all of the fourth quarter. With 10 rebounds total, Asik helped Houston grab 19 of 22 available defensive rebounds and surge ahead for the win.
Asked if he was surprised that Kevin McHale never returned to Howard down the stretch, Asik said he had not considered it.
“I don’t think about that,” Asik said. “I just play whenever I get minutes. I just try to play hard.”
This is why the Rockets haven’t traded Asik yet.
There will be nights, like this one, where he helps the team win. They might be few and far between, but they will happen. Plus, Houston, especially considering Terrence Jones has successfully replaced Asik in the starting lineup, doesn’t have any gaping holes that could be filled with the return in an Asik trade.
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Asik is too expensive a luxury to afford forever, but for now, the Rockets can wait for a good offer. In the meantime, they’ll happily get some production from him.