In the beginning hours of free agency this year, the Houston Rockets jumped all over a guy who had been on their radar since the trade deadline in 2011. They met with and immediately offered Bulls backup center Omer Asik a three year, $25 million deal that was backloaded in an attempt to scare the Bulls off of matching the offer.
Gamble (reportedly) not successful.
According to “multiple sources”, K.C. Johnson from the Chicago Tribune says the Bulls are excepted to match the offer on Asik. The deal will pay Asik $5 million a year in the first two years of the deal but the Bulls are eyeballing the “poison pill” third year that pays Asik $13 million.
The Rockets did the same deal to the New York Knicks and Jeremy Lin, but Chicago is sharing the sentiment that New York is feeling and will likely go with their plan for Lin and apply it to Asik.
Chicago will basically get Asik for two years at $10 million dollars but they can then use him as a trade chip in the third year and as long as he’s traded or moved by the end of the season, the Bulls won’t have his contract on the books and therefore they won’t be in the luxury tax because of his deal.
The Rockets re also in hot pursuit of a trade for Dwight Howard, although the team has said that doesn’t affect Asik’s status or value to them at all. What does affect the signing of Asik is Houston’s pending sign-and-trade deal that dumps Marcus Camby to New York and Kyle Lowry to Toronto.
Once the offer sheet is signed, the Bulls will have three days to make a decision.
Chicago freed up close to $7 million by not picking up the options of Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson and have yet to make a decision on Korver’s contract and will inform him of their decision by Sunday. Korver is likely going to stay at $5 million for next year and the Bulls also will have Kirk Hinrich on the books (well he will be when he signs his deal) for $6 million over the next two years.
The Bulls also have various spots to fill on the roster but they are hoping that they can grab some guys at the veterans minimum now that the massive free agent sugar rush has died down.
But their focus will remain on Asik and all decisions — even Hinrich signing his deal– is affected by what the Bulls do with Asik.