POSTED: Jun 25, 2014 11:20 PM ET
UPDATED: Jun 26, 2014 6:36 AM ET
The Houston Rockets continued to try and clean sufficient cap room to make a run at another star player this summer Wednesday night by agreeing to trade disgruntled center Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans for a 2015 first-round pick. The Rockets will also send cash to New Orleans, which doesn't have a first-round pick in Thursday's 2014 Draft.
The Rockets have been trying for months to trade Asik, whom they signed in 2012 as a free agent from Chicago and gave a lucrative three-year, $25 million deal. The deal was structured in a way as to make Chicago unwilling to match, with Asik due a hefty $15 million for the 2014-15 season. However, he only will count for $8 million on the Pelicans' salary cap because of the way his contract is structured.
The 2015 pick has protection on it for both teams, but the Pelicans may have to involve a third team to trade a player or players to make the deal work financially.
The trade cannot be officially announced until after the July moratorium, during which teams can negotiate deals with players, but cannot formally execute those deals.
Houston made a similar deal for guard Jeremy Lin, whom it signed away from New York in 2012. The Rockets are also trying to trade Lin in order to maximize the cap space they'd have to either make a run at free agents to be LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony, or trade for Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love.
Asik is one of the league's better rebounding centers, but his future in Houston was thrown into doubt when the Rockets signed Dwight Howard as a free agent last summer. Asik chafed at the idea of playing alongside Howard at power forward, and asked for a trade during the season. The Rockets tried to comply, but couldn't make a deal before the deadline. In New Orleans, Asik will be a complimentary big man for emerging superstar Anthony Davis, who can play almost exclusively now at power forward instead of banging inside against bigger centers.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the trade.