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.