Before Saturday night’s game against Denver at Toyota Center, Rockets center Omer Asik was nowhere to be found. He was in the building but unavailable to play. He didn’t attend the shootaround that morning. When coach Kevin McHale was asked about Asik’s status, he said, “O will not play tonight.” Pause. “He did not (attend the shootaround). He is under the weather.” This comes just two days after reports that Asik has requested a trade from the Rockets. He has started eight games this season. But in the last two, he played a total of four minutes. ‘Do whatever we can’ Before the trade request, McHale had started to waver from his experimental lineup featuring Asik and center Dwight Howard, who was moved to the four position. The experiment hasn’t worked as planned for the Rockets. “The lineup with me and (Asik) sometimes is great,” Howard said. “Sometimes it is better to have a smaller lineup with a conventional five and four. But there are times when he and I can be very successful, and we are going to do whatever we can while we are on the floor and try to make it work.” McHale and general manager Daryl Morey have talked to Asik to try to make him understand the situation, a person with knowledge of the conversations said. His teammates also have been encouraging Asik as well. “I understand where he is coming from – his frustration, sharing the floor,” Howard said. “I understand it’s tough for him. The only thing I can do is be his friend off the floor and help him any way I can. I understand it’s a tough situation for him, but we are all family and we have to learn to fight through frustrations.” With minutes to share for all the Rockets’ big men, Asik’s teammates are asking that he continue to do what is best for the team, which has high hopes and big goals this year.
Asik nowhere to be seen for Rockets-Nuggets game
Houston Chronicle | Nov 17