- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
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The Houston Rockets have abruptly ceased trade talks involving Omer Asik and now face the complicated task of trying to re-integrate the unhappy center into their frontcourt rotation, according to sources close to the process.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Rockets moved away from the negotiating table Thursday when it became apparent that they wouldn't find a trade that matches their valuation of Asik before their self-imposed Dec. 19 deadline to move him.
The reality is that the Rockets still have two months until the league's annual trade deadline on Feb. 20 to find a palatable deal, so Asik's name will continue to be at the forefront of leaguewide trade speculation until the deadline passes. Yet sources said Thursday that there is growing pessimism within the Houston organization that it can construct a workable trade, given the resistance even interested teams have shown regarding the $15 million owed Asik next season.
In reality, Asik is only a $10 million-a-year center, which is more in line with his reputation as an elite defensive anchor who possesses a very limited offensive game. But to steal Asik away from the Chicago Bulls in restricted free agency in 2012, Houston structured its offer sheet to the Turkish big man so that he'd receive a whopping payout of $15 million in 2014-15, even though Asik only counts against the salary cap for roughly $8.4 million.
35dMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo