The quietest member of the Rockets during the “Summer of Dwight” has finally broken his silence.
That wasn’t necessarily by design, of course. Omer Asik, who isn’t the most talkative guy to begin with, spent the majority of his offseason in his native Turkey and represented Turkey’s national team in the EuroBasket 2013 tournament.
But the one offseason item attributed to Asik was quite noteworthy. On the day after Dwight Howard committed to Houston, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst quoted a source close to the Rockets’ returning center as saying:
“Asik has no interest in being Howard’s backup or playing next to him.”
At Rockets Media Day on Friday at Toyota Center, Asik delivered his first comments to Houston media since Howard became a Rocket. Asik stressed the importance of respecting the coaches, but he didn’t deny the alleged trade demand, either.
“’I have no comment,” he said. “You guys can ask as much as you can but I’m not going to say anything about this. I’m going to do my job and do what the coaches ask me. That’s all I can say.”
When training camp begins Saturday, head coach Kevin McHale will experiment with two-center lineups including both Howard and Asik. Will it work?
“That’s up to the coaches,” said Asik, who started all of Houston’s combined 88 regular season and playoff games during the 2012-13 campaign. “We’ll see what they think. We’ll start on that tomorrow.”
“I’m a basketball player, I’ll do whatever the coaches say. I just have to be ready for training camp and ready for any changes. That’s all I can do.”
Asik said he believes Howard is the best center in the NBA.
“I think defensively we would be really good [together], but we have to figure out how it plays on offense,” said Asik, who spoke to a small handful of reporters outside the main press conference room where Howard, James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin spoke to a larger contingent.
“We’ll see what happens.”
His comments weren’t rave reviews, but they did exude professionalism. And if the Rockets are to give the “twin tower” lineup a legitimate try, that could prove important.
“This is basketball,” said Asik. “It’s business. There’s no emotions in it. That’s all I’m thinking about.”