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Sources: Rockets trade Omer Asik to Pelicans

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers

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Apr 25, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Houston Rockets center Omer Asik (3) rebounds the ball over Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) and forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) during the first quarter in game three of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center. (Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports)

The Houston Rockets have reached agreement on a trade to send center Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for a future first-round draft pick, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

For the Rockets, this is the first step in clearing salary-cap space to pursue LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony in free agency. Houston has to move Jeremy Lin next to create space for a third maximum contract on the roster. Dwight Howard and James Harden are already on max contracts for the Rockets.

The Rockets will acquire what will likely be a late lottery pick, possibly as soon as 2015, from the Pelicans, sources said. The trade cannot be completed until July 10.

Asik gives the Pelicans a rim protector and defender to pair with star forward Anthony Davis.

Asik, 27, had asked for a trade a year ago, wanting out of Houston after the team signed Howard to become its starting center. Asik was injured for parts of the past season and averaged 5.8 points and 7.9 rebounds. As Houston's starting center two years ago, he averaged 10.1 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks.

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