The Chicago Bulls have received the $25 million offer sheet on Omer Asik from the Houston Rockets, thus starting the clock on the deadline. However, the Rockets petitioned the NBA to shorten the deadline since they attempted to deliver the offer sheet on Saturday to no avail.
So despite the fact that the Bulls received the offer sheet today, the deadline for a decision is 10:59pm on Tuesday. However, with recent moves he Bulls have made, they will likely not be matching the offer sheet.
This most recent and final decision to not match Asik came in the 11th hour essentially. Behind the scenes, Gar Forman and John Paxson had been coveting margin bin replacements for Asik on the bench and they got one in the early hours of Sunday morning when 14 year veteran Nazr Mohammed agreed to sign with the Bull rather than the Brooklyn Nets.
That coupled with the fact that they have Kirk Hinrich about to come on board as well as rumors that the team is in “advanced talks” with ex-Hornets guard Marco Belinelli, there is simply no money to allot to matching Asik’s $25 million offer sheet.
The Bulls technically could have done it before snagging Mohammed, but between him, Hinrich, Vladimir Radmanovic and potentially Belinelli the Bulls will have spent close to $8 million on four free agents. Chicago needed to fill out the roster and they didn’t want to go deep into the luxury tax (Jerry Reinsdorf didn’t want to go there at all but that’s what we call a pipe dream).
So finically it makes sense. Four players for $8 million against one for $5 million next season is a smart move money wise. But the issue Bulls fans justly have with this is Gar Forman promised “basketball decisions” not financial ones.
Obviously matching Asik would have meant the Bull were serious about retaining some form of defensive presence on the bench. Right now Taj Gibson is the only guy who’s proven himself defensively in the Tom Thibodeau system.
And it’s not like the Bulls are sacrificing Asik’s defense for revamped offense on the bench. Every single one of the members of the Bench Mob that are now elsewhere averaged over 6.0 points per game last year.
Of the new guys, only Marco Belinelli averaged more than that and he’s not even officially yet. Not even Kirk Hinrich averaged 6.0 points per game and he is the crown jewel of the free agent signings this season.
So now that the Bulls have replenished the Bench Mob with sub-par replacements, we need to get an apology from Gar Forman. I don’t thin he said it to be cruel, I honestly believe the way he crafted the original Bench Mob that he wanted to make “basketball decisions” but was forced by his tax allergic boss to do otherwise.
But let’s not burn the ship before it’s even left port. It’s not like this rag-tag team of misfits of on the bench have failed yet. Tom Thibodeau took a bunch of spare parts in 2011 and made them into — well the Bench Mob. So if there’s a guy that can work with what he has it’s Thibodeau.
That being said, he’s not a miracle worker, otherwise the Bulls would have two titles already. But let’s not say all is lost when we haven’t even seen the product on the court yet. If it gets to mid-Janurary and things still aren’t clicking, then we can all be cynical and look back at one of the worst offseasons in Bulls history with the scowls we have on now.
But if in mid-Januaray, the Bench Mob 2.0 is struggling and Omer Asik is a top defender for the Rockets, there will need to be some serious explaining by Bulls brass.