Chicago Bulls: What Will They Do with Restricted Free Agent Omer Asik?
However, the question must be asked, how high will they be willing to go?
Since John Paxson replaced Jerry Krause, the Bulls have handled these situations in two ways. First, they either never let the player get to restricted free agency, like they did with Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose, or they let the player hit the market and see what the market value is for the player.
They tried the second approach with Ben Gordon, who ended up not receiving any offers and ended up accepting the Bulls qualifying offer. He then became an unrestricted free agent after the season and left to join the Detroit Pistons.
Since he has yet to be signed to an extension, it appears they are going with option two. Personally, I think that is the smart choice.
Asik has only been in the league two years, so there is a limit on what another team can offer him. He can't be offered anything close to what DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers received last offseason, which was four years worth $43 million.
He can only be signed to a deal worth about the mid-level exemption. Therefore the Bulls can easily retain him because they can use their own mid-level exemption or just use his Early Bird Rights exemption. This is called the "Gilbert Arenas Rule".
With the mid-level exception being worth about $5 million, is that too much to pay for a backup center?
The Bulls will be paying big money already to Rose, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Noah so a deal for Asik would send them over the luxury tax line. While Jerry Reinsdorf has said he is willing to pass the line in order to win a championship, it's hard to see next year's team doing that.
Rose is expected to miss part if not all of the season. We are unsure what the status of Luol Deng will be because it is unknown if he will require surgery on his wrist. Deng has said he will not make a decision until after he represents England in the Summer Olympics.
Asik did not show much improvement from year one to year two and some may say he actually digressed. Defensively he has everything you want, he can rebound and block shots, but offensively he leaves a lot to be desired.
If it isn't a dunk he has a problem scoring. His percentage at the free throw line is so bad it makes you wish that Shaquille O'Neal could shoot for him. Paying him close to the MLE seems like a pretty high asking price.
He will turn 26 in July, and the idea of someone offering him a four-year deal worth $20 million is not out of the question. Personally, I don't think there is any way the Bulls match that.
The only other option the Bulls have is to try and trade him. Perhaps Houston would be interested in swapping another restricted free agent in Courtney Lee for Asik.
So what do you think Bulls fans? Have we seen the last of the "Turkish Hammer" in a Bulls' uniform? Sound off below.
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