Update: Thursday, July 26 -- Maxwell Ogden
Earlier this week, Bleacher Report relayed news that the Chicago Bulls would not re-sign center Omer Asik. Just days later, the Turkish big man has officially become a member of the Houston Rockets.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tells NBA.com exactly what type of presence he expects Asik to offer.
“We are excited to add Omer to our roster,” said [Rockets GM Daryl] Morey. “Omer has proven to be a defensive force at every stop in his career – in the Turkish league, in FIBA’s World Championships and EuroBasket competitions, and of course for the past two years for the Chicago Bulls. We are excited to add his rim protection, his rebounding, and the defensive mentality Omer brings to each play.”
The Asik in Chicago era has officially come to a close. The Asik and Linsanity era, however, has just begun.
-- Report via B/R's Free Agent Tracker
Update: Tuesday, July 24 -- Joel C. Cordes
As anticipated by the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Bulls have announced that they will not match the Houston Rockets' offer sheet for center Omer Asik.
Bull.com featured the official announcement, acknowledging that the Bulls would have liked to retain Asik's defensive capabilities, but not at the exorbitant three-year, $25 million deal.
There aren't a lot of attractive bigs out there anymore. The Bulls will have to scramble with their cash to find a replacement who can anchor the defense and potentially spot major minutes for an injury-prone Joakim Noah.
For the Rockets, they land their second major target of the offseason. While they certainly would have rather had Dwight Howard, Asik will be penciled in as the immediate starter. They've overpaid to get Asik and Jeremy Lin, two players with huge upside and question marks.
Their young roster has a lot of moving parts, but they've done a decent job of blowing things up, rebuilding on the fly and staying in dogged pursuit of Howard.
- Content for this update provided by Bleacher Report's Houston Rockets offseason tracker.
Update 2: Monday, July 23 — Ethan Norof
It appears all that is left in the Omer Asik saga is for the Bulls to officially decline the offer sheet from the Houston Rockets.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune has the latest on Asik's future.
The Bulls will decline Omer Asik's three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet from the Houston Rockets because they will be hard capped at $74.3 million while paying the luxury tax for the first time in history.
By using a portion of the $5 million midlevel exception for Hinrich and earmarking the biannual exception of $1.9 million to sign Marco Bellinelli, it's impossible for the Bulls to match even Asik's $5 million starting salary and stay below $74.3 million.
-End of update-
Update: Monday, July 23 — Ethan Norof
The Bulls "appear ready to pass" on the offer sheet for Omer Asik, meaning that the big man will likely be wearing a Rockets uniform for the 2012-13 campaign.
Update: Sunday, July 22 -- Maxwell Ogden
On July 20, Bleacher Report covered the story of Omer Asik signing the Houston Rockets' offer sheet. Today, we've discovered that the offer sheet has been received by the Chicago Bulls.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune has the news and what it means.
Rockets have successfully received 10:59 PM TUES deadline for Asik decision. Doesn't sound like much of one anymore for Bulls.
— K.C Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 22, 2012
Per Johnson's report, the Chicago Bulls don't seem to be in favor of re-signing Asik. While he's clearly a valuable asset, "overpriced" doesn't even begin to do this deal justice.
-- Report via B/R's Houston Rockets Tracker
Update: Friday, July 20 -- Maxwell Ogden
The Houston Rockets have expressed serious interest in restricted free agent center Omer Asik. They've offered him a hefty contract and all but promised him a serious role in their future plans as a result of this decision.
As of July 20, they've officially guaranteed themselves a role in his destination. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune has the news.
After meeting with Rockets officials in Las Vegas, including dinner with coach Kevin McHale, Omer Asik returned to Chicago and signed his three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet Friday.
The Chicago Bulls will have until 10:59 p.m. on the third day after they received the offer sheet to match or decline the contract. More details will be reported as they emerge.
-- Report via B/R's Houston Rockets Tracker
Update: Friday, July 20 -- Joel C. Cordes
Having cleared enough cap space via a handful of releases, the Houston Rockets are expected to offer Omer Asik that long-awaited and massive contract.
With Jeremy Lin aboard, and Dwight Howard presumably not, the Rockets will pursue their original free agency target:
Per NBA sources: Rockets will sign Bulls RFA center Omer Asik to an offer sheet this afternoon. Chicago will have 3 days to match.
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 20, 2012
Asik's defensive strengths and offensive deficiencies are well-documented by this point, but he'd still fit in well with a young Houston roster that's all moving parts right now.
On the other hand, the Bulls have moved Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Watson to presumably keep Asik as Joakim Noah's insurance policy. But is the price right?
Update: Wednesday, July 18 -- Maxwell Ogden
Per a report via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, the Rockets have waived two players from their roster. The unlucky duo are Jon Leuer and Jerome Jordan.
Once the players clear waivers, Feigen reports that the Rockets will officially sign their top remaining target to an offer sheet. Much to the Bulls dismay.
The Rockets have waived Jon Leuer and Jerome Jordan. When they clear waivers, Rockets will sign Omer Asik to offer sheet.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) July 18, 2012
The Bulls will then have three days to match the offer. More on this story as news comes forth.
-- Report via B/R's Free Agent Tracker
--End of Update--
Omer Asik is a defensive superstar. If he had an offense that matched his defense he would be an All-Star. Of course, if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas.
Asik's defense is stupendous though. While he was on the court last year the Bulls gave up just 89.7 points per 100 possessions. That's 8.1 points fewer than when he was on the bench. His defensive rating was by far the lowest of qualified players, a full two points lower than anyone else.
In the five games Asik started, their opponents scored just 84 points per game.
Asik has outstanding defensive instincts. He gets in the lane and alters shots. More importantly, he is skilled at keeping bigs from catching the ball in the lane in position to finish.
That has teams interested in him in spite of his offensive deficiencies, which are pretty severe. Asik has a tendency to drop the ball down to his knees every time he catches it, whether from a pass or on a rebound. He's a horrible finisher.
Teams interested in the Bulls restricted free agent include the New Orleans Hornets, (links are to the source of the rumors, nola.com, NBA.com and SI.com, respectively), the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
However, the Bulls are committed to keeping him. According ESPN.com, Gar Forman said,
Omer is a restricted free agent this summer, which means we've got an opportunity to talk to him about a new contract on July 1. And obviously other teams will have the opportunity to talk to him also. We will be able to match any offer he'll receive on the open market place, but it's our goal to have conversations with him the very first day, and we see him as a key piece to our team moving forward. We think he has shown the potential to continue to improve, and it's our goal that Omer Asik will be a Chicago Bull in the foreseeable future
- End of Update -
After Omer Asik agreed to sign a three-year, $24.2 million offer sheet with the Houston Rockets, it's uncertain if the Chicago Bulls will look to retain him, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
Although Asik's defensive presence is very valuable and the Bulls have relied upon him for extended minutes when Joakim Noah has dealt with injuries, Asik's deal is set to pay him more than $14 in the third year of the contract.
That might be a bitter pill for the Bulls to swallow.
Should the Bulls decide to match the offer sheet on Asik, the club will eventually have to make a decision on Carlos Boozer's long-term future with the team.