NBA Trade Rumors: Minnesota Timberwolves Could Sacrifice Nikola Pekovic For Omer Asik in Three-Team Trade
- Onchie Ebriega
- Jan 02, 2014 11:16 AM EST
The Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly exploring a trade that would give them Houston Rockets center Omer Asik, with budding big man Nikola Pekovic going to another team.
In an attempt to plug in a gaping hole in the middle, the T-Wolves are considering to bring in a solid big man who would anchor their defense. According to the International Business Times, Minnesota is contemplating trading for Asik, who's considered one of the premier defensive centers in the league.
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Asik, who averaged 4.4 points and 6.8 rebounds this season, has drawn interest from multiple teams ever since he demanded the Rockets trade him out of Houston two months ago. However, the Rockets have been unsuccessful in moving the disgruntled Turkish center despite engaging in several negotiations, one of which was the failed deal with the Boston Celtics.
Basketball insiders believed the Rockets' high asking price (two first-round picks) for Asik appears to be the biggest stumbling block in any potential trade.
Meanwhile, the Wolves are still struggling to make an impact this season despite bringing in several talents via free agency last summer. The arrival of Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer made Minnesota a better offensive unit compared to previous seasons, though it's not enough to win ballgames consistently.
NBA analysts stressed that the Wolves (16-16) have to improve their defense, which currently ranks 25th overall with 102.5 points allowed per game. Pekovic, who inked a five-year, $60 million deal last summer, is producing at least 17 points and 9 rebounds per outing, but his impact on the defensive end is hardly felt.
Though Pekovic is a more polished offensive player than Asik, the Turkish big man can provide what the Timberwolves really needs - a legit rim protector. Asik proved to be a dominant defensive player in his first season with Rockets as he averaged 10 points, 11 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 30 minutes per game. With Kevin Love doing the damage offensively, Asik's only job is to swat shots and clog up the shaded lane.
According to basketball forum Clutch Fans, the Rockets and Timberwolves needs a facilitating team willing to absorb Pekovic's huge contract and surrender draft picks. The New Orleans Pelicans, Charlotte Bobcats, Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks might be interested in becoming the third team in the deal.