NBA Roundtable

Asik and Rockets Agree to $25 Million Deal

In Free Agency on July 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm

ESPN reports

The Houston Rockets have reached a verbal agreement with Chicago Bulls restricted free agent Omer Asik on a three-year deal worth $25.1 million, according to sources close to the talks.

Asik can’t formally sign the deal until July 11, which is the first day new players can sign NBA contracts for the 2012-13 season.

The Bulls will then have three days to decide whether to match the offer or let Asik go.

Analysis

Omer Asik

I like the pay scale for Asik. I think he is worth $7-8 million a year as a high level defender/rebounder and very limited offensive threat.

I consider him to be a very similar type of player to Kendrick Perkins. A pre-injury Perkins that is. The only difference is Perk got to play a starting role alongside Kevin Garnett in Boston while Asik was stuck in a 15mpg bench role in Chicago. But that talent levels are very similar.

I actually rate Asik higher as both an interior defensive presence and as a rebounder. Perk may actually be the superior  and more skilled offensive player which is a scary thought but … Asik’s value as a defender/rebounder makes him a worthwhile and legitimate starting quality center in the NBA.

I think Asik is best suited to a 26-28 minute a night role due to his offensive limitations. If his team is forced to play him more than that, it was more an indictment of their roster (likely lack of defensive option amongst fellow big men) than praise of Asik’s impact.

Given Asik’s age and the number of years he spent playing professionally in Europe, I think it’s unlikely that we see much further development from him in the NBA. What you see is what you get.

Should Chicago Match?

I thought it was very important that Chicago matched any reasonable offer to Asik this summer in order to keep him as a future trade asset similar to what Orlando did with Marcin Gortat a few years ago.

However, I didn’t properly understand the rules. The Gilbert Arenas provision.

This rule is for players who have spent the first two years of their career with their team and the team owns their early bird rights but not their full bird rights. If a team owns the full bird rights to a player, it can over the cap to re-sign him. If it only owns the early bird rights, it may not. It can offer 170% of the player’s previous contract ($1.857 million * 170% = $3.18mil) but that is the maximum.

So the rule, the Gilbert Arenas provision, was put in place to allow teams a better chance of keeping their young prospects. Named after Arenas because Golden State was unable to match Washington’s large contract offer several years ago and lost their star young guard.

The rule states that a team can match any contract but that it goes on their books at the midlevel pay level for the first and second years + then it can increase any amount up to a max contract level in the third year and go on from there.

So in Asik’s case, the $25 million roughly breaks down to $5 million in year one, $5 million in year two, and, $15 million in year three. A poisonous year three figure.

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Now, I knew all of this prior to this summer but what I didn’t know was that this only applied to Chicago if they matched the offer.

But for Houston, who gave the offer sheet to Asik, their contract offer is counted against the salary cap as normal with the $25 million spread out at roughly $8+ million a year for three years.

I had previously believed that the Rockets would have had that 5/5/15 poisonous situation also but clearly they do not. So it only becomes that if Chicago match, in which case, Asik’s trade value goes down the toilet.

So I say, let Asik leave. Good luck to him in Houston.

Frankly, I think this rule makes life very difficult for the team that owned and developed their player over the first two years. I think it needs to be reconsidered and more friendly to the player’s previous team.

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