With just five shopping days remaining, the contract of his unhappy, defensive-minded Turkish center is burning a hole in Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's pocket.

The winter closeout sale, his own version of the trade deadline, begins Sunday. And general managers who might be interested in trading for Omer Asik, or being a part of a deal built around him, have been told Morey is ready to deal.

For nearly a month, Morey has made his way around NBA showrooms and talked about deals. By his self-imposed Thursday deadline, he will be ready to buy.

Morey would not discuss his plans, but a person with knowledge of the Rockets' thinking said Morey set his Dec. 19 deadline in part because he knows he has an offer he is willing to take. Though things can change several times by Thursday, that individual said "it very likely will be a pretty complicated, three-way deal. There are a lot of moving parts."

Options aplenty

Ideally, the Rockets hoped to pick up a player who can quickly step into the rotation and, one way or another, have the impact they hoped Asik would have. Less desirable but more likely, Morey would have to put together a package of players or picks for Asik, knowing that the mixed grill option is usually not as valuable as getting one stronger player, especially for a team now built to contend quickly.

With the emergence of Terrence Jones as the starting power forward, Morey is not determined to find a starter at the position. He hopes to come away with either a strong defensive wing who can catch-and-shoot, a power forward who can fill in as a backup center, or expiring contracts that come with first-round picks - or some combination of those assets.

Morey told teams he would make a deal by Dec. 19, the cutoff for acquiring players who can be traded again this season. But he also created urgency like a trade deadline and has never let a deadline pass without a deal, including last season when he was certain that nothing would materialize.

According to individuals with knowledge of the talks, the Rockets do not have a deal in place but were greatly encouraged when trade talks intensified Dec. 6, so much so that the confidence that they would be ready to pull the trigger helped inspire the Dec. 19 "deadline" as much as needing a deal by then to be able to move players again this season.

As much as speculation has centered around Thad Young, if the Rockets are to do a deal with Philadelphia and former Rockets assistant GM Sam Hinkie, it is more likely to be a three-team deal in which the player the Sixers trade goes elsewhere.

The Rockets likely would want draft picks in a deal, and Hinkie is not expected to give those up. If the deal was for Young, the Rockets and Sixers would not have had to wait until Dec. 15. And if the Rockets were to try to get one of the Sixers players who don't fit in Hinkie's long-term plans, it would be more likely for Spencer Hawes, a range shooter who could play next to Dwight Howard or as his backup with Asik gone.