(SportsNetwork.com) - The New Orleans Pelicans will acquire 7-foot center Omer Asik from the Houston Rockets in return for a future first-round draft pick, according to multiple reports.
The deal cannot be finalized until after Thursday's draft.
Asik, a four-year veteran from Turkey, spent the last two seasons with the Rockets after breaking into the league backing up Joakim Noah in Chicago. He averaged a double-double in 2012-13, posting 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds while starting all 82 games, but saw his role diminish this past season after the Rockets signed Dwight Howard.
Asik's minutes were slashed from 30 per game in his first season with the Rockets to 20.2 this past season. He also made just 19 starts.
The move gives Houston cap flexibility to make potential runs at marquee free agents LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, each of whom opted out of their contracts this week.
The Rockets will receive New Orleans' 2015 first-round draft pick and $1.5 million in cash, according to ESPN.com
On draft night last year, the Pelicans traded No. 6 pick Nerlens Noel and their 2014 first-rounder (No. 10) to Philadelphia in return for point guard Jrue Holiday.
The Asik deal will potentially give New Orleans three consecutive seasons without a first-round pick it kept after selecting Anthony Davis first overall in 2012.