A week from now, Omer Asik will very likely be on another NBA team. The Rockets have set a December 19 deadline by which they'd like to trade him, and according to sources all over the league and all around the Asik talks, Houston plans to adhere to that deadline. As ESPN.com lefty enthusiast Marc Stein reported in breaking the news of the December 19 timetable, this is an auction. Submit the best bid on time, and you own a rim-protecting center. The Asik trade negotiations are a window into how much the landscape of the league has changed in the last half-decade or so. Asik would have been a market inefficiency in, say, 2005, and he was something of one when Daryl Morey, Houston's GM, stretched the spirit of the new CBA in signing Asik (and Jeremy Lin) to poison pill–style contracts in July 2012. Most traditional measures painted Asik as a backup stiff. He barely scored, or even attempted shots, he couldn't shoot free throws, and though he blocked a decent number of shots, he was not a prolific rejector. He could barely catch a regulation basketball on the move, and if shot charts were your thing, he was a poor finisher at the basket for a tall human. He had not even played 1,000 minutes in any season before Morey signed him, though the lockout and the front-line depth of the Bulls explained some of that. Still: A lot of GMs in the early-to-mid-2000s would have looked at Asik as an unskilled rebounder deserving of backup minutes and a tiny contract. Even enlightened NBA Twitter was behind the curve when the Rockets signed Asik. I was online when the news broke, and I remember the reaction vividly: instant, loud mockery. $8 million for a dude who averaged three points per game last season! The feeling was almost universal: Dork Elvis had outsmarted himself. The Rockets might have been able to get Asik for even less money than they offered in 2012, and who knows what an Asik contract would have looked like had he entered the league a decade earlier. He would have been a "Moneyball" player then — a guy with a skill or two that were hard to measure, and even harder to value, and thus someone who fell through the cracks of player evaluation on most teams. Only a handful of teams would have known how to measure Asik's impact, or even what publicly available numbers mattered most in doing so. He would have been a player you stole, or the target in a trade that turned out to be a laughable heist.
Rockets tried dealing Asik to Bobcats for picks
Grantland | Dec 13