Rockets weighing Omer Asik options

Many sources connected to the talks, however, expressed belief Wednesday that the Rockets ultimately will go through with a trade, since Asik's demotion from the starting lineup and desire to be dealt following  Dwight Howard's arrival in July have hung over the team for the past month.

The Rockets will have a better chance of getting a trade construction they like if a third team can be recruited as a facilitator, but sources said Wednesday that the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers -- two teams widely anticipated to be at the heart of the Asik talks -- were not engaged in active negotiations with Houston.

The Hawks, sources said, have been resistant to making versatile forward Paul Millsap available to the Rockets, while Cleveland's interest was said to be as a potential third team to absorb the contract of Celtics forward Jeff Green. But sources say Boston has refused to make Green available in Asik scenarios, offering Bass instead.

Both Bass and Lee played with Howard in Orlando, but there are questions about how well Bass' game meshes with Howard's compared to power forwards with better shooting range. On the plus side, Bass has only one season left on his contract after this one at $6.9 million.

There are league sources, meanwhile, who have maintained all month that the Rockets' plan to trade Asik by Dec. 19 was hatched in part because of general manager Daryl Morey's confidence in being able to strike a deal with Philadelphia, where former Rockets assistant general manager Sam Hinkie is now running the Sixers' front office.

The combination of a thigh injury that led to knee discomfort and Asik's clear frustration since being dropped from Houston's starting five in mid-November has limited him to just eight games since Nov. 20, with stints ranging from seven to 23 minutes in those appearances off the bench behind Howard.

Houston tried playing Howard and Asik together and initially was hesitant to entertain trade offers for the 27-year-old, based on the premise that the luxury of having either Howard or Asik on the court at all times was too valuable to surrender so quickly. But Asik's angry reaction to losing his starting spot changed the dynamic.

Asik has wanted a new address from the moment Howard arrived in July and, according to sources, has privately requested a trade numerous times in the months since.

He started his first 90 games as a Rocket after signing as a free agent in the summer of 2012 before declaring himself unavailable to play the Knicks in New York on Nov. 14, snapping a streak of 239 consecutive games played in the regular season. Asik is averaging 18.3 minutes per game, down from last season's career high of 30.3, and is averaging just 4.4 points and 6.8 rebounds.'s Chris Forsberg contributed to this report.

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