Are Rockets' sources using Berger to try to create leverage?
The "Asik is staying" argument doesn't make a lot of sense to me, with the Rockets having to pay him $15 million next year. I do agree that his contract will make him harder to deal next year, which is why I expect he'll be dealt this year. (Teams just don't pay $15 million for their backup centers.)
Factor in Jeremy Lin's poison pill of $15mill and the Rox ownership will be paying two bench players $30 million? Yeah right.
It doesn't matter if it doesn't all count against the cap, ownership isn't paying all that.
This talking point seems quite overrated to me. They paid the guys around $5m/year for the first two years of their deals, so ownership effectively ends up being able to defer about $14m in salary interest-free for the price of it being a bit harder to trade either guy.
If the Rockets do trade Asik, there is a good chance the other team will insist on Houston throwing in the maximum of $3m-ish in cash considerations, so it is possible that ownership ends up spending more money if the team trades Asik than if they keep him.
I believe (iirc) that it's not about the money, it's about the cap hit. Although Asik will hit the jackpot, not all of his salary will count against the cap (same for Lin I believe).
The reason the Rockets are eager to trade the two is (again, iirc) because they need to re-up Parsons.
Asik's payday is counteracted by all the benefits of them signing a back-loaded contract.