As free agency opened at 11:01 p.m. CT on Saturday, Omer Asik was clearly the most coveted Bulls free agent around the NBA. The Turkish center met with the Houston Rockets shortly after the free-agent market opened – a sit down confirmed by Rockets general manager Daryl Morey on Twitter.
“Meeting (sic) w/Omer Asik in a few minutes,” Morey posted on his account. “Tell him how much you want him in Houston!”
A restricted free agent, Asik averaged 3.1 points and 5.3 rebounds this past season. The Bulls and teams across the league value the 25-year-old’s defense, size and experience, and Chicago’s brass has been adamant that it will pull out all the stops to re-sign Asik. Working in the Bulls’ favor is the fact that squads interested to sign Asik are regulated to the same amount they could offer in the first year of his deal: $5 million. But, ultimately, Asik could very well have to forfeit money – whether it comes as early as the second year of an offer sheet or as a backloaded proposal.
All along, the Bulls’ plan has been to match any offer sheet Asik receives and then turn their attention to making further acquisitions.
However, they could be put to the test financially, as it’s possible that Asik will get offered around $7.5 million per year. Bulls general manager Gar Forman told reporters on Thursday night that the organization will make basketball decisions, not money-based ones. Yet, he followed that statement by speaking about the financial logistics that will have a role in potential moves.
Later in the night, Asik met with a Portland Trail Blazers contingent, according to Yahoo! Sports. The report added the Blazers intend to give him an offer following Saturday’s get together.
Yahoo Sports! also reported Saturday that the Bulls are among the five finalists who will meet with former Blazers star Brandon Roy in the coming week. The three-time All-Star has had serious knee issues in recent seasons and was forced to stop playing last year due to them. When healthy, Roy would have the ability to fill Chicago’s well-documented need at shooting guard. However, it seems doubtful the Bulls have the resources and selling points to lure Roy – never mind the trust that he is healthy enough to perform at a high level.