As rumored last night, the Rockets were preparing a $8m/yr offer to Asik. It's actually slightly more annually, but only a 3-year deal. Woj with the details:
The Houston Rockets have reached agreement on a three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet with Chicago Bulls free-agent center Omer Asik, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Asik will sign the offer sheet on July 11 and the Bulls will have three days to match or lose him to the Rockets.
That total figure on 3-year offer means a yearly salary (and cap figure) starting at $5m, then the second year at $5.225m, and the 3rd year at a whopping $15m for 2014-15.
[Update by your friendly BullsBlogger, 07/01/12 7:59 PM CDT: Cap guru Larry Coon double-checked his work, and the 3rd year can at most be just over $14m. ]
The Bulls have said they'd match Asik offers, and this type of backloaded deal was a definite possibility. Even matching the $5m this year puts the Bulls over the Luxury Tax threshold, and leads to a real payroll headache in that final year. Though you can consider that Boozer will very likely be amnestied, and Luol Deng's contract off the books, there's Joakim Noah's $12.2m for Asik's same position on the floor.
I'm guessing negotiations can start immediately on a possible sign/trade with Houston. As long as all three parties (Bulls, Rockets, Asik) agree, this offer sheet can be torn up and another deal made where the Bulls could potentially get something in return from Houston. I had figured there's really nothing in such a thing for Asik, as the Bulls can't offer more money. But I wonder if the nature of the contract (where it being 'only' 3 years was no doubt in part to make it tougher for the Bulls to swallow that final season) means the Bulls could at least work out a 4-year version that Asik would likely prefer.
I'll offer a rare poll here. Just a match or not.
'Not' includes a sign/trade, because you can't really assume the Bulls really are getting much back. The juiciest idea perhaps is a dual sign/trade with the Rockets own RFA, Courtney Lee, but it seems doubtful considering the Bulls can't/won't take on salary. The Rockets do have a lot of big men on rookie contracts, but they likely want to keep a lot of them as trade assets.
I'm of two minds. With some organizations, I'd say just match this and figure it out later. Unfortunately the Bulls will be working around the self-imposed margins for the next several years, and this may be too much of a headache to keeping that cost control.