The Houston Rockets are desperate to trade center Omer Asik, and to do it by December 19th (the last day in which any players they receive can then be traded again before the trade deadline). Asik, owed $20.1 million through the end of next season, is currently unhappy as the back-up to Dwight Howard.

With Asik, an elite defensive anchor who averaged a double-double last season, on the block, it's no surprise that several teams have come calling.

And tonight, ESPN's Marc Stein says that you shouldn't count the Celtics out as a possible trade partner. The (possible) price: Either Jeff Green or Brandon Bass.

While strong rumbles persist that the Philadelphia 76ers are the team most likely to go along with such an arrangement, given the close ties between Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and Philly counterpart Sam Hinkie, there's fresh talk in circulation about another potential co-conspirator.

The Boston Celtics.

The advice offered to us on Sunday was stern: Keep an eye on Boston. The Celtics possess two players in different salary ranges that would presumably fit in useful ways next to Dwight Howard: Jeff Green and Brandon Bass. The Celts also have a spare first-round draft pick or two to plug into any trade equation to sweeten the deal for Houston, amid rising suspicions around the league that Morey’s Rockets are going to find a way to come out of the Asik saga with at least one future first.

The same Rockets who happen to have a GM (Morey) and coach (Kevin McHale) who have long-standing relationships with Celts president Danny Ainge.

So, yes, I’d say you should keep an eye on Boston.

Asik's cap hit is $8.3 million this season, while Green makes $8.7 and Bass $6.5. That means the Celtics would need to throw in a little more money if it were Bass (MarShon Brooks would be the most likely candidate).

As for if this deal makes sense, I actually wrote about the Celtics trading Bass + the Clippers 1st for Asik back in training camp. Bass fits the Rockets like a glove, a guy who can spread the floor for Howard and defend elite wing scorers. While Bass is never going to be a star, he has a very rare skill-set that could be valuable to a contender.

Green makes a little less sense, both for the Celtics and the Rockets. Houston has Chandler Parsons already in house, and Green (or Parsons) are both terrible fits at the 4..even with Howard there to back them up.

Asik has value to the Celtics for a few reasons. For one, he's a true center. A 7-footer who can grab 10+ boards per game while protecting the rim. He would also allow Jared Sullinger to shift back to power forward, his natural position. True centers with Asik's abilities don't hit the market all that often, and when they are, they are often overpaid (Hello Andrew Bynum). Asik is signed for 2 years and $20.1 million (including this one), so he wouldn't come cheap. But with either Green or Bass' salary heading out of town, it wouldn't cause that much damage to the Celtics books.

As for the pick..if Houston wants any of the Celtics or Nets future picks, I'm saying no unless they are heavily protected. I would probably part with the Clips pick though, as that projects to be a mid-20s pick in the 2015 draft (although I'd want top 10 protection on that one too..just in case).

There have been a lot of rumors flying around about Asik, including that Houston already has a three-way deal lined up with two mystery teams. So as of now it's tough to figure out exactly what's going on. But it seems as though something is about to happen, and the Celtics are a legit possibility.

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Michael Dyer 12/15/2013 10:49:00 PM Edit
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