April 19, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Goran Dragic (3) drives past New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Eric Gordon (10) during the second half at the New Orleans Arena. The Hornets defeated the Rockets 105-99. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Rockets active early in free-agency
Omer Asik - The Rockets have attempted to trade for Asik for about a year now, but it seems they've finally acquired the coveted big man via free agency. Asik can't sign the offer sheet until July 11th, at which point the Bulls will have 3 days to match the Rockets offer or lose him to Houston. The reported offer is 3 years, 25 million, a figure that the Bulls aren't likely willing to pay their backup center. On top of that the Rockets have back-loaded the contract with the final year being worth about 15 million, making it nearly impossible for the Bulls to match. When I first heard the announcement on the money offered, I was a little shocked Morey would offer that much for a player who has averaged 2.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks over 2 NBA seasons. However, after looking a little deeper, those numbers are over just 13.2 minutes per game; over 36 minutes (starters minutes), Asik would average 8.3 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks. The Rockets are buying on pure spec, no argument, but they've been successful in the past in similar situations with Luis Scola, Goran Dragic, and Kyle Lowry who were all either playing significantly fewer minutes than they are now, or not in the NBA at all. Outside of Chicago and NBA insiders, Asik is a relative unknown, but by the numbers, he compares favorably to Serge Ibaka who would have averaged 12.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 4.8 blocks over 36 minutes per game last season.
Eric Gordon - Probably a long shot, but Gordon does have Houston on his list of visits. Gordon visited Indiana on Sunday, will visit with the Rockets today, with the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, and Portland on July 5th. It's reported that Gordon may also visit with Dallas and Charlotte, but hopes to reach a decision by July 6th; the first day of Team USA practices in Las Vegas. Regardless of where he signs, it's reported that Gordon will be seeking a max contract that will be worth 58 million dollars over 4 years. Gordon is a high level scorer (20+ ppg last two seasons), but I don't think he's worth the max. Gordon has had issues staying healthy (played only 9 games last year, missed 50 games over his first 3 seasons), and doesn't offer much outside of scoring. Gordon isn't a great shooter (45% over 4 seasons) and averages just 2.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists (2.4 turnovers) per game. Though I don't like the dollar total being talked about, Gordon does make sense as a Kevin Martin replacement (career numbers very similar) who coach McHale has seemed to fall out of favor with and is in the last year of his contract. However, I thought that was why they drafted Jeremy Lamb, so if they do sign Gordon, it'll be interesting to see what they do with Lamb and also Courtney Lee who they made a qualifying offer to. My best guess, Gordon will either go home to Indiana, or stay in New Orleans where they can offer him more money and the chance to play with Anthony Davis.
Goran Dragic - The Rockets appear to be the favorite to re-sign Dragic, but the point guard also has interest in the Raptors, Suns, Nets, Hornets, and Lakers. According to reports, playing for a winning team and being a guaranteed starter are just as important to Dragic as the money. In my opinion, that should knock off the Raptors, Nets (if Deron Williams re-signs), and Suns. As long as the money is close, I believe the only thing that will keep Dragic from re-signing is the Kyle Lowry situation. Dragic hasn't been vocal about not wanting to play with Lowry, but I don't believe he'll want to split time with a point guard that at worst is nearly his equal. With every team knowing that the Rockets have to trade Lowry, the trade market isn't great but I thought a deal would have been done by now. Maybe Dragic will sign if the Rockets promise him that Lowry will be dealt before the season starts, but it'd be best for all parties involved for something to be done very soon.
Marcus Camby - The veteran center will be entering his 17th year in the league this upcoming season and reportedly won't make any visits because he's played for nearly every team and knows what he wants. What he wants, to play for a championship contender and win a ring before he retires. It's reported that Camby is considering the Knicks, Heat, Spurs, Celtics, and Mavericks, along with the Rockets. Camby has made good money over his career and knows he isn't a starter at this point, so I believe him when he says that it's all about winning a ring. That being said, I believe it's the Heat's race to lose, followed closely by the Spurs and Celtics. If all 3 of those teams pass, or if the Rockets get lucky and acquire Dwight Howard; then Houston has a chance to re-sign him.