The Houston Rockets just traded Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans for their 2015 first round pick. The move makes sense for both parties as one (the Rockets), is looking to clear cap space immediately to lure a top class free agent and the other (the Pelicans), is looking to make a playoff push in the West.
That is just what the Pelicans might do next year. Omer Asik and Anthony Davis almost automatically becomes one of the best defensive frontcourts in the NBA. Asik gives the Pelicans a reliable center they desperately need to pair with Davis, and means they can bring Ryan Anderson off the bench where he seems more comfortable.
The Asik contract, one year left at $14.8 million, will put the Pelicans right at the salary cap number. That gives New Orleans a rotation of Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Davis, Asik and Anderson.
The key will be health next year, as that rotation including Asik missed a combined 151 games last season. The wheels started to come off once Holiday went down as they were a near .500 team, only to finish the season 14 games under .500.
Additional depth is going to be the only real issue with this team, but Portland proved this year that isn't all that necessary, as the Blazers regularly gave six guys heavy minutes. New Orleans hopes Austin Rivers can continue to develop at guard as his rookie year was less than stellar.
Rivers did see an increase in playing time towards the end of the year due to injuries.
The Pelicans will most likely lose Jason Smith, Al-Faroq Aminu, and Anthony Morrow to free agency due to the limited cap space. Morrow has a team option for $1.1 million, which he will decline. Brian Roberts is the wildcard as his qualifying offer improved to $3.4 million, because he started 41 games last season. Not sure if a team is in that high of demand for a backup at point. Smith and Aminu are unrestricted free agents.
Another thing to monitor is head coach Monty Williams may have a short leash with this roster if they get off to a bad start. Williams will have his best team since 2010-2011, when they had Chris Paul and David West. They lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Lakers. The Pelicans have yet to make a return trip since. Don't be suprised if you see them there in 2015.