The Houston Rockets remain on course to trade Omer Asik by their self-imposed deadline of next Thursday, according to sources familiar with the Rockets' thinking. As for where ... TNT's David Aldridge tossed out a new possibility Thursday night during the Rockets' nationally televised loss at Portland, introducing the concept of an Asik-for-Anderson Varejao trade. Sources close to the process on Friday stopped well short of describing the Cavs as Houston's preferred trading partner, but Cleveland certainly has to be added to the list of potential Asik destinations. The Rockets, meanwhile, continue to give off the vibe that they will find a deal they like by the Dec. 19 buzzer, which they established last week and is the last day they can package anyone they acquire in an Asik trade with other players in a subsequent deal before the league's Feb. 20 trade deadline. The rest of the latest scuttle from the Asik front: • The Rockets have indeed shown interest in Varejao in previous years, but one source close to the process indicates to that the Rockets would not be willing to deal Asik for Varejao straight up. It's believed that Houston would be seeking at least one more asset in the exchange if talks with the Cavs ever progress to a serious stage, presumably a future first-round pick. Which raises the question: Is Cleveland really willing to surrender that much for Asik ... and absorb Asik's $15 million salary for next season. • Word is that the Cavs' preference remains upgrading at small forward -- with Chicago's Luol Deng at the top of Cleveland's list -- rather than bringing in a center.