It was reported earlier in the weekend that the Rockets were interested in signing Bulls restricted free agent Omer Asik to an offer sheet. It turns out that Asik was the Rockets' first priority as Free Agency began overnight.
Meeting w/Omer Asik in a few minutes -- tell him how much you want him to be in Houston! He will see your msg live - include #Asik2Houston— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) July 1, 2012
Kind of a goofy ploy by Houston, but we've just learned that the Bulls used Chuck Swirsky for their 2010 free agent push, so who are we to judge?
We also see from that KC Johnson article that the Rockets are going to offer $8m annually in a 4 year deal. The first year is still guaranteed to be no more than $5m, but the deal can be backloaded in years three and four. By all indications this offseason, the Bulls have maintained they'd match offers on Asik, even if it put them slightly over the luxury tax threshold.
Johnson follows that the Bulls "planned to be pro-active" in this situation. This seems more like the very definition of reactive, but whatever. I wonder if the Johnson views a $4/$32m offer as the kind of 'nutty' deal the Bulls may not match. It's certainly makes for an interesting debate: Asik is key for the Bulls strengths, and players of his caliber and skillset cost money. But if the Bulls going to be a team that's (self) hamstrung in their future payroll, it may be a better option to take back their word and let their backup center go.
The idea of a discount is sure out the window, so let's hope at least the Bulls were prepared for that likelihood. And after his meeting with the Rockets tonight, Asik is scheduled to meet next with Portland.