The Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans have reached an agreement on a trade that will send center Omer Asik to New Orleans for a future first-round pick, a source confirmed to SI.com.
The Pelicans will also receive $1.5 million in cash from Houston in the deal.
For the Rockets, moving Asik is the first step in the pursuit of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in the offseason. Asik, who was unhappy with his role with Houston last season, is due to make $15 million next season, though only $8.4 million will count against the cap. The next step for the Rockets will be finding a taker for Jeremy Lin, who has an identical deal to Asik’s.
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If the Rockets move both Asik and Lin they will clear an estimated $19 million in cap space.
New Orleans has been interested in Asik since last season. In Asik, the Pelicans get a strong rebounder and rim protecter to play alongside rising star Anthony Davis. The addition of Dwight Howard reduced Asik’s role last season (5.8 points and 7.9 rebounds in 20 minutes per game). But as a starter in 2012-2013, Asik averaged 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds and led the NBA in total rebounds.
Yahoo! Sports first broke this story.