The Houston Rockets are stuck in a waiting position now as they attempt to move forward following the unexpected acquisition of Jeremy Lin.
Omer Asik and the Rockets have a handshake agreement on an offer sheet worth $25 million over three years, but it is not yet official. Once Houston waives a player and waits 48 hours—which will likely last until Friday—the offer sheet can become official and the Chicago Bulls will have three days to match.
What if the Rockets renege on the offer, though? Once again, this is not an official contractual agreement yet and either party could back out.
The Rockets surely weren't expecting to have Lin's salary on the books for the next few seasons, as the New York Knicks had given every indication that they would match any offer. The prevailing opinion before the handshake agreement with Asik was that Lin wouldn't be going anywhere and the Knicks matching was more of a formality than anything else.
According to the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson, the Bulls haven't decided whether or not they would match the Rockets' offer, which opens the door for the Rockets to unexpectedly land both Asik and Lin.
I'm guessing that the Rockets hoped they might get one of the two restricted free agents, but certainly not both.
With Daryl Morey unrelentingly pursuing Dwight Howard, he doesn't need both of those salaries on his roster.
So, what if he decides to eliminate the risk and renege on his offer to Omer Asik?
It's highly unlikely that such a move occurs, but it is a possibility.
If it became an actuality, the fallout would be twofold.
First of all, the Houston organization would be looked down upon by the rest of the NBA and the fans that make the NBA's very existence possible. It's one thing to say you might offer a deal and then not offer it. It's another thing entirely to actually agree to one and then not offer it.
NBA franchises have to maintain a certain level of honor, and this would shatter any perception of honor surrounding the team. That alone would make it even harder for free agents and rookies to want to come wear Rocket red and white.
Furthermore, the move would leave the Rockets with a huge void in the frontcourt. No matter how good he may be in the future, Donatas Motiejunas should not be the starting center for the team when the regular season begins.
While it's alright for the Lithuanian seven-footer to play big minutes in Summer League, the same is simply not true during the real action. Not at this point, at least.
Asik isn't a tremendous center, but he'd be the best big man on the Houston roster right now.
To make it perfectly clear, I'm not suggesting that the Rockets will renege on the deal, just that it is a possibility, however small the odds may be.
The fallout from backing out would be more severe than the fallout from actually signing Asik, though, so the Rockets must make sure they honor their agreement.