Mar 7, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Omer Asik (3) on the floor during the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Pelicans Officially Acquire Omer Asik in Three Team Trade

About a month after a report came out that the New Orleans Pelicans were set to acquire Omer Asik, the trade has finally become official today.

To clear things up, the Pelicans received Alonzo Gee in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. They are now flipping Gee to the Houston Rockets, who have just signed free agent Trevor Ariza. The Washington Wizards, seeing an opportunity to get something in return for Ariza, did a sign and trade with the Rockets. This sign and trade will send Melvin Ely’s unguaranteed contract from the Pelicans, to the Wizards. Houston, no longer in need of Omri Casspi, are trading him to New Orleans.

The Pelicans, still in need of cap space for Asik traded cash to the Charlotte Hornets for Scotty Hopson. Hopson is on a two year contract with a team option. The Pelicans will use that team option to release Hopson from the team, giving them the proper cap space for Asik.

Too long didn’t read version

Wizards get: $8.5 million trade exception, Melvin Ely’s unguaranteed contract

Rockets get: Trevor Ariza, Alonzo Gee, New Orleans’ 2015 protected first-round pick

Pelicans get: Omer Asik, Omri Casspi, $1.5 million cash from Houston

Hopson is now a free agent.

An unexpected part of this trade is Omri Casspi going to the Pelicans. On a veterans minimum contract, he won’t impact cap space and brings valuable three point shooting. He isn’t particularly a very good defender, but he can play the small forward position. While this limits him on defense even more, in lineups with Asik and Davis, it can be covered up.

While Casspi is a nice addition, the star of the trade is Omer Asik. He played in 48 games for the Rockets last season and averaged 20.2 minutes, 5.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game for Houston, as he fell out of favor a bit early in the season after demanding a trade when the Rockets signed Dwight Howard.

Asik can only be a positive acquisition for a Pelicans team that appears to be going all in on the defensive side of the ball. With Anthony Davis‘s length, speed, and athleticism at one big spot, and Asik’s mobility and strength at the other it isn’t hard to see the Pelicans with the potential be one of the top five interior defensive groups in the NBA. The move should help the entire defense as having rim protectors like that helps the defense as a whole because it provides teammates with a security blanket if they get beat. Asik should allow the perimeter defenders more room to pressure the ball and gamble now because they know they have help behind them besides just Davis, which should also allow for better recovery against ball movement.

Where it doesn’t help the team as much is on offense. Asik is so ineffective on offense that it’s almost like playing 4-on-5 at times. Defenses don’t pay any worry about him on that side of the ball due to a lack of range and Asik’s struggles at times just catching the ball. He can finish ok if he gets close to the rim and will set solid screens but Asik won’t ever be mistaken for an offensive weapon. There’s also concern over Asik being on a one-year contract. The Pelicans may be giving up too much for a one year rental center that can only play on one side of the ball.

The offseason is still on going and there are still moves to be made. But at this moment in time, the Asik trade helps, but doesn’t fix all of the Pelicans problems.

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