This is all being done in a succession of moves from the Rockets. So, while the wait before was them finalizing their sign/trade of Marcus Camby to the Knicks, they then made their offer sheet to Knicks RFA Jeremy Lin. There's even still a debate as to when that was officially done. Some are going with a 11:59pm Tuesday deadline but the Knicks are claiming their clock started later.
This could be shenanigans from New York, but also genuine uncertainty as to whether to match that offer to Lin. Like Asik's reported offer, Houston used the cap rules to their fullest to make the Knicks think twice. They haven't historically cared about payroll, including spending more on some far worse teams. While up against the luxury tax already, the Knicks have been aggressive in adding players through sign/trade deals (yep, it can be done!), from the aforementioned Camby to their more recent acquisition of possible Lin replacement Raymond Felton. But they've also declined to match Landry Fields's offer from Toronto, and the tax is more punitive and will really hit the Knicks hard in Lin's 3rd season. So maybe the new CBA is working a little bit if even the Knicks are changing their ways.
The Bulls will be facing the same issue immediately after the Lin situation (whether its matched or not), but under different circumstances. Their present and future payroll isn't as high as the Knicks: they can mitigate Asik's raise in year three by Amnestying Carlos Boozer and figuring an expected paycut (or outright divorce) from Luol Deng.
But they're also not a high a spending team as New York in general. And that's been my worry for the potential of matching this offer, not so much the value of Asik but how it will affect future payroll decisions. A single, expiring, contract year of $15m isn't unmovable, but it isn't the asset that expiring deals once were. And the way this team has operated in the past, I fear that giving Asik that money only takes it from others, whether it's a future Taj Gibson extension or trading Joakim Noah. I'd like to say that they should just match the offer and 'figure it out' later, but I'm also not sure I trust them to do that figuring wisely.