The first transaction has been made by a team attempting to sign Carmelo Anthony this summer.
Late Wednesday night Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Houston Rockets had agreed to deal center Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for a future first-round pick, according to league sources. The Pelicans will also receive $1.5 million in the deal. The trade can not be completed until July 10, but when it does it will shed $8.4 million off the Rockets' payroll; if they trade Jeremy Lin, which they'll need to do in order to have the cap space to sign Anthony or LeBron James, the Rockets will have saved more than $19 million, according to SI's Chris Mannix.
Wojnarowski first reported two weeks ago that the Bulls and Rockets were considered front runners for Anthony's services. The Rockets also are reportedly in the market for James, hoping to lure either of the top two free agents this summer into teaming up with James Harden and Dwight Howard and make them instant contenders in the West.
Still, the Rockets moving the former Bulls center doesn't change all that much in terms of the Anthony sweepstakes. Trading away a 27-year-old 7-footer with elite rebounding and shot-blocking skills wasn't going to be a tough sell for general manager Daryl Morey. Neither will trading away Jeremy Lin; it still comes down to Anthony or James being convinced they can win in the Western Conference with the core Houston has in place.
The trade comes hours after ESPN's Chris Broussard tweeted that Anthony will meet with the Rockets, Bulls and Mavericks when free agency begins July 1. It's not an exhaustive list, but those three teams are considered to be in the best shape to land the seven-time All-Star.