It's never ideal when an athlete, upset by any number of issues, decides it is time to move on. It makes the player look like a whiner and limits the team's options. After all, once it is known a player wants out, it severely hamstrings the team's ability to find a trade partner willing to give back more than pennies on the dollar.
It has been no secret since the signing of Dwight Howard that center Omer Asik has wanted out. The former bench player on the Bulls became one of the league's best defensive big men last season, and though the Rockets experimented with a two-big-man lineup, the writing was on the wall when Howard inked his deal.
Last week, things took a sharp turn south when Asik requested a trade and pouted his way to only four minutes in one game and a DNP Coach's Decision in the next. Reportedly, Asik will return to play on Tuesday night against the Celtics, but it is clear that his days in a Rockets uni are numbered.
If Asik were wise, he would take a lesson from another disgruntled Houston athlete: Andre Johnson.
At the end of Sunday's game, when coach Gary Kubiak stubbornly went back to Matt Schaub, a move that failed to ignite the spark Kubes had hoped -- in truth, Schaub couldn't light a spark with a flamethrower at this point -- tempers flared and Johnson had words with his
former current QB. He then stormed off the field as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Swarmed by reporters afterward, Johnson said it was just in the heat of the moment that he and Schaub are "fine." But when asked if he was happy with the Texans, a guy who routinely has said he wanted to finish his career in Houston despite the damage being here has obviously done to his Hall of Fame career, he said, "I have a contract."
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To do a quick translation for those who don't speak pissed-off athlete, roughly this means, "I hate this stupid team and that idiot coach. If I didn't have this ridiculous contract, I would be headed to New England or Denver or Green Bay, where they have a real quarterback and not a scrub the coach refuses to bench." Or something like that.
Asik, who prefers not to speak much at all, partly owing to his more reserved nature and somewhat due to his concern for speaking English properly, has remained silent, but his actions speak volumes. Instead of getting out there and making the best of it, he sulked. Now, with Greg Smith out for ten days thanks to a bum knee and no other viable backup center, this is Asik's opportunity to be great and force the coach's hand.
In short, be like 'Dre. The guy goes on the field hurt and still performs. Despite being ten years in, he is considered the most dangerous wide receiver in the NFL. He holds the record for most games with ten catches and 100 yards and is slowly climbing the list in categories like all-time receptions and all-time yardage. He doesn't pout. He plays.
Asik may never have Johnson's talent, but he could take a lesson from his attitude and how he handles his business. It would certainly be better for him and it would make things a lot easier for the Rockets as they look for a suitable trade partner.