Rockets' 2012 core will stay, GM says

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey says there's one reason he'll be keeping the core of the team intact despite adding a new centerpiece last week in Dwight Howard.

According to Morey, it's what the new franchise cornerstones want.

"The reality is James and Dwight want to play with Jeremy and Omer," Morey said Saturday after introducing Howard in a Houston news conference, referring to shooting guard James Harden, point guard Jeremy Lin and center Omer Asik. "I've been kicked down to assistant GM. They're going to be here."

With Howard officially in the fold, Morey addressed what expectations the Rockets will have for Asik.

"When we didn't have Omer out there last year, we [stunk]," Morey said, according to the Houston Chronicle. "I mean, we were terrible. That was where we lost games. When we had Omer out there, we were a top-10 defensive team. Now we have a defensive player of the year and Omer. That position is so important if you're going to have a solid defense. Now we have two of the best in the league. I'm very excited."

Howard also said he envisions the Rockets' future including Asik and Lin as key pieces.

"Omer might not really see the total big picture right now, and I totally understand," Howard said, according to the Chronicle. "He's a young guy and he wants to really be respected. I would tell him when I see him, 'You've done a great job on this team. I'm going to help you and this team get better.'

"He's a big piece to us winning a championship if we're going to make that run. He and Jeremy Lin will be very good playing with me. I'm going to do whatever I can to make those guys' lives better. I realize how much they mean to this team."