NBA Free Agency 2012: Which Restricted Free Agents Are Worth Bringing Back?

Love PatelContributor IIIJuly 8, 2012

This offseason has brought some wild offers made by teams to restricted free agents that make you think twice about their true value.

In the first offseason under the new agreement, we've seen some creative tactics teams are employing to make runs at a player or keep players on their team.

Some players transcend financial considerations and are worth keeping at all costs, while others just aren't worth overpaying.

Here's a look at a few notable restricted free agents this summer, and whether they're worth bringing back or not.


Omer Asik: Not worth it

Asik was a defensive stalwart for the Bulls last season, despite his limited time on the floor. It seems like what he showed in his short stints was enough to convince another team to make him a big offer.

The Rockets came out with a three-year offer worth $25.1 million that Asik committed to. This is an awfully steep price to pay for a player who's only contributions come on the defensive side of the floor.

While the value of good centers that can contribute has been rising because of the shallow market, this offer was based solely on projections about how productive he could be in a significant role with more minutes.

Teammates have expressed their desire for him to return. Especially his cohort, Taj Gibson, another defensive standout.

This deal should make the Bulls think twice about bringing him back, even if he played a role in their defensive success.

The contract is loaded in the third year, where the salary jumps to around $15 million. That third year will put the Bulls in a financial squeeze as they already have a significant amount of salary committed to Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.


Eric Gordon: Worth it

The Hornets officially turned the page on the Chris Paul era last season and have begun the rebuilding process with their high picks, Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers.

As one of the league's rising stars, Eric Gordon is essential to building a core in New Orleans that could compete for years.

After making several visits, Gordon committed to an offer from the Suns that was worth the max a restricted free agent could get on the market, and the Hornets gave every indication that they were ready to match it.

Though Gordon has expressed his discontent at the possibility the Hornets would match his offer, getting to play with a young core in New Orleans and developing together to become a contender could convince him to forget much of what has happened over the last few weeks.

Besides, his beef isn't really with the situation on the floor as much as it is with the front office's interest in him and how he feels they've handled his contract situation.

This is a no-brainer for the Hornets, and I'm sure they feel the same.


Jeremy Lin: Worth it

The biggest argument for bringing Lin back to the Big Apple is that in addition to what he brings them on court, he could bring them plenty off the court.

While that may be true, it shouldn't play a significant role when making a decision on him.

"Linsanity" may not make a return, but in that stretch of games, Lin showed he can be a solid option as a starter or a major contributor off the bench.

For a team that has already settled on its core, Lin would be a good supplement, even if he was only able to show for a limited time how well he could fit within the organization last season.

With the recent, pending acquisition of veteran point guard Jason Kidd, Lin will have the opportunity to learn and develop under him.


Roy Hibbert: Worth it

Hibbert was a key cog in the Pacers' successful season. As the market for bigs grows, and the options for effective frontcourt post options wanes, Hibbert's value has gone up.

While he's not the force that Andrew Bynum or Dwight Howard are, he is a very solid option and is worth the max-offer given to him by the Trail Blazers.

The reality in the NBA is that centers at Hibbert's level are going to get more than people feel like they should get, for the most part.


Nicolas Batum: Not worth it

The biggest consideration in the Timberwolves' offer to Batum is the fact that he's a young player with a lot of time for improvement.

That's about the only positive point in the $45 million offer given to Batum. His averages aren't spectacular, and his defensive abilities may be a bit overvalued.

Still, he's worth what someone is willing to pay him, and the offer he got shows that the Timberwolves feel like he's going to get better.

This one was a little tougher because the effectiveness of this move hinges on other pending offers the Blazers have.

If Portland manages to snag Hibbert, bringing Batum back would add talent to a roster that is ready to compete for the playoffs in the West. However, if the Pacers match on Hibbert, letting Batum go could be a viable option in an effort to rebuild.

In the end, if you look at the offer for Batum in a vacuum, the contract is a little big. Even with the upside and potential for improvement. 


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