Very seldom does a basketball team have a defensive anchor that plays primarily with the second unit. Essentially that is who the Bulls’ Omer Asik is. He is the glue on defense to what has been has considered one of the best second units in the NBA.
Slightly over a week ago I gave you “$25 Million Reasons Why the Bulls Must Not Match Omer Asik”. I gave a few reasons as to why the Bulls must let Asik walk, but they need him, don’t they?
Per NBA rules, any deal that is agreed upon cannot be consummated until July 11. After that time, the Bulls will have three days to match. The Bulls are in a vicarious position here. If it were up to me, given his limitations on offense, I would wish him well in Houston. The problem with that however, is that the Bulls’ biggest strength is their size.
Asik is a legit seven-footer who alters shots. The fact that he is rarely challenged when he is manning the paint is a huge advantage that the Bulls have. In a season where the team will be without Derrick Rose and perhaps Luol Deng from the start, they need every advantage that they can get. Anytime that Asik enters the game, the tide on defense turns. Very few teams enjoy that advantage.
There is a beauty to Asik’s defensive approach as he works seamlessly with every other frontcourt player that the Bulls have. His presence and ability improves the players around him. One has to figure that if there is any way to improve Carlos Boozer’s defense, the Bulls must employ it at all times.
The Bulls would miss his presence on the team.
It also would give them yet another roster spot to fill. It is bad enough that the Bulls had four frontcourt players on their roster in the first place. Losing Asik would force the Bulls to have to find two new frontcourt players. That would not be an easy task given the fact that the Bulls will be eye-to-eye with the dreaded luxury tax. The Bulls may be able to replace Asik but it would hurt them financially to do so.
In the end, it all comes back to this question. Is Omer Asik worth his $25 million contract offer? No, he cannot score 15 points on a regular basis, but he can stop an opponent from scoring those points. Seven-footers are a premium in the NBA. The Rockets understand this. It is why their offer to Asik is an ambitious one.
I stand by my sentiment that the Bulls must let him walk. At the same time, I understand that losing Asik would be huge. The Bulls lose their one, true advantage going into next season. Either way, the Bulls are taking a gamble. A $25 million gamble at that.