Dwight Howard has officially decided to join the Houston Rockets, and Omer Asik doesn't want to play eight minutes a night as Dwight's back up. Any chance for a Chicago reunion for Asik?
Would the Rockets take newly extended Taj Gibson in trade for Omer? Both will have similar cap hits though Omer will actually be paid more salary (five million this year and 15 million next year despite cap hits of 8.3 million both years). The move would give the Bulls more size as well as a competent back up center.
While Chicago would then be relying heavily on Boozer at PF, it's easier to promote Luol Deng to play big than it is to find another center. With extra depth at SF in Dunleavy and Butler, Chicago could afford the minutes for Deng to play at the four. Whether or not Deng can afford the physical punishment of playing big minutes at the four is another matter.
In general, it's easier to find another four than another five though, so if the Bulls err on the side of being bigger there would obviously be worse positions to be in. That said, Gibson might be a dicey fit for the Rockets as they're looking to bring back Ryan Anderson from the Pelicans in an Asik trade. It's a move that theoretically helps balance out both rosters, but one the Pelicans may not be all that in to.
There's also some talk amongst Bulls fans that Chicago could swap Gibson for Asik and then open up the path to trade Noah for Aldridge with Portland. The combined deals only really make sense to me if you're banking on Noah being hurt, but he's struggled with injuries the past few seasons. There's also no guarantee that Portland is in on the move.
Beyond trading with Houston directly, Chicago could try and get into the mix in a S&T scenario with Josh Smith to the Rockets where Asik is involved and see if they can swap in Gibson to the Hawks. It's difficult to say how other teams would view such a scenario. Either way, the odds of the Bulls bringing back Asik seem awfully slim, and the roster permutations where he's back but other assets are moved out for him don't seem better than what they have now. Just different.
If Chicago could add Asik for say Kirk Hinrich and Rip Hamilton while bringing back Nate Robinson it'd be a pretty sweet deal. However, besides the fact that Houston may not be so interested in such a move, the Bulls may not be interested in paying so much salary. Chicago would also have to hope Nate would agree to their minimum contract.
That said, if Nate isn't getting a better offer elsewhere, moving Kirk to ensure a role for him likely ensures he's back next year on the minimum here vs the minimum somewhere else. It really depends whether Nate has enticed anyone else into paying him after last season's play.
The end scenario is likely that Chicago can't find a permutation that fits for itself and for the other team, but it's at least interesting to see what could happen with the former Bull.