Over the weekend, ESPN’s Marc Stein threw some more kindling on the quietly burning rumors that linked Houston’s very available big man, Omer Asik and the Milwaukee Bucks. After assessing the Philadelphia 76ers and their chances, he moved on to some other contenders:

Better, then, to send him somewhere Dwight would have to face the Turk as infrequently as possible. Atlanta and Milwaukee are thus two more teams to monitor, with the Rockets undoubtedly drawn to Paul Millsap and his cap-friendly contract — though the reality is you can say the same about a ton of teams — and what has been described to me as the strong possibility that the Bucks are about to get active on the trade front in the wake of such a poor start.

This is equal parts intriguing and terrifying.

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

What’s intriguing about a Bucks trade?

Trades! Everyone loves a trade. The thought of new faces and the prospect of how those faces could fit in Milwaukee — not only this year but also going forward — is always intriguing. You, me, everyone else who writes at Bucksketball, we feast on trade rumors with the enthusiasm of an overweight man coming off a diet on Thanksgiving digging into his stuffing.

What’s terrifying about a Bucks trade?

PANIC TRADES! This line is what scares me: … strong possibility that the Bucks are about to get active on the trade front in the wake of such a poor start.

That reeks of, “we want to get better this season.” To which I would reply, WHY!? WHY FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS, WHY!? What is wrong with having a bad season, just this one time? JUST LIVE WITH IT, ENJOY THE SWEET, SWEET FRUITS OF YOUR LABOR AND MOVE ON.

If I so much as see my arch nemesis Khris Middleton peddled in a package for another Monta/Jefferson/Jackson/Maggettte cast off, I will shut this blog down, turn the car around and head home. One of the best days of my last month was Sunday. Rudy Gay was traded to the Sacramento Kings, meaning Milwaukee couldn’t give away anything of value to grab him and make a run at driving me further insane.

Maybe the Asik deal wouldn’t be the one where the Bucks gave away some sort of asset, but there’s always a possibility that Milwaukee is going to break my heart with some short-sighted thinking and an attempt to save a lost season just because the Eastern Conference is a mess. WILL SOMEONE IN THIS STUPID CONFERENCE WIN SOME GAMES SO THE BUCKS CAN ABANDON ALL HOPE!?

What could Asik do for the Bucks?

Milwaukee hasn’t been able to do a few things this season. Chief among those few things have been struggles to rebound the ball on the defensive end and guard centers who look to score. These are strengths for Asik. Asik was second in the league last season in defensive rebound percentage.

In 5.2 attempts per game at the rim against Asik this season, opponents are shooting just 43.2%. In contrast, opponents are shooting 52.5% against Ersan Ilyasova, 52.4% against Zaza Pachulia and 40.8% against John Henson. While Henson has had more success than ever before as a defender this season, he’s struggled recently playing out of position against bulkier centers. And even in this season, a down year for Asik, his defensive rebound percentage of 28.1% is far superior to Henson’s 22.1%.

A front line of Asik and Henson seems stout defensively, but also seems like it would lose traction when Larry Sanders returns from his thumb injury either in late December or very early January. Milwaukee would have to do some juggling, yet avoid upsetting Asik, who reacted quite negatively when he was dropped from Houston’s starting lineup earlier this season.

What would Milwaukee have to give up?

Probably a little bit. Most often, Ilyasova’s name is mentioned in rumors around Asik, as he would give the Rockets a shooter at the power forward position that they are said to covet. In addition, Milwaukee has two second round picks in the upcoming draft. Asik’s cap hit next season is $8.4 million, though he’ll actually be paid roughly $15 million because of some bizarre accounting that took place when Houston signed him. In theory though, I believe Ilyasova for Asik works straight up, but I’m not sure the Rockets would be into that.

Would this interfere with our dreams of a top pick in next year’s draft?

It all depends on what the Bucks surrender. Losing Ilyasova and gaining Asik would make the Bucks better this season, thanks to Ilyasova’s poor play and poor fit with this current group of teammates. Asik would seem to be a considerable defensive upgrade for a team currently ranked 24 in defensive rating.

But he doesn’t contribute too much on the other end and certainly wouldn’t take Milwaukee’s putrid offense anywhere it hasn’t been already. Plus, losing the threat of Ilyasova may contribute negatively on offense too, though the Bucks have actually been better on offense with Ersan on the bench this season.

Overall, if it were just an Ilyasova and picks for Asik thing, I’d say that wouldn’t be much of an obstacle for this offense to overcome to continue to lose games. That’s a weird sentence.

Does trading picks or young players for a guy like Asik to save a season like this make a ton of sense?


But, you know the motto.