Goodbye Omer, and hello Nazr.
Asik, a valued member of Chicago's Bench Mob the past two seasons, signed his $25 million offer sheet - which includes a poison pill $15 million for the third and final year of the contract - with the Rockets on Friday. The Bulls will have three days to match once they receive the offer sheet.
While it's not a big-splash signing, Mohammed, who played 11 minutes a game last season for the Thunder (2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds a game/8.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per 36), isn't a bad choice for the Bulls given the available options. He has a good, back-to-the-basket post game and decent medium range jumper with a career average of 49.5 percent from the floor, and is a good rebounder. On the downside, he's undersized at 6-foot-10, and plays poor defense.
The Bulls and fans will miss The Turkish Hammer, but let's face it, he's not worth $8-plus million a year, and it's not like the Bulls are going anywhere this season anyway. With treading water being the apparent goal for the 2012-12 season, management - assuming they gave Mohammed a one-year, placeholder type of deal - now has a year to figure better, longer term options.
Asik helped make the Bulls one of the NBA's strongest defensive teams up the middle, but was basically a liability on offense. Bulls general manager Gar Forman had long expressed management's commitment to Asik, but that was before Houston made it's crazy $25 million offer, and GarPaxDorf has been mum on the issue since (we don't even know if the Bulls have yet received the offer sheet from Houston).
Here's the good news about losing Asik, assuming management declines to match: The Bulls have more dollars to sign fan favorite Taj Gibson to a long-term contract. And while the team and fans will miss Asik, there's no question about who would have more long-term value to the team.
Summer League update: The Bulls finally got a win at the Summer League games in Las Vegas last night, defeating the LA Clippers, 77-74 (video highlights and stats here). Jimmy butler led the way with 23 points, while the surprising Malcolm Thomas once again double-doubled with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Thomas leads the league in rebounds with 14.5 boards a game.
Free agent notes: As you've already read, the Bulls are working hard to get Marco Belinelli; a signing sounds imminent….. Other players the Bulls have talked to and/or are interested in include center Darko Milicic, guard E'Twaun Moore, forward Donte Green and forward Anthony Tolliver….. Shannon Brown, thankfully, re-signed with the Suns; maybe the handful of fans yammering about what a great addition he'd be will finally give everyone a break….. Congrats to former Bull Keith Bogans, who re-signed with the Nets after missing most of last season with a broken ankle.
Notes: The Bulls have announced that they'll be affiliated with the Iowa Energy for the sixth straight season. Other teams sharing the D-League team are Denver, New Orleans and Washington.
YCN featured sports contributor Steve Merritt is - for better or worse - a lifelong Chicago Bulls, Bears and Cubs fan. He's followed the Bulls since 1969, when he tuned in after bedtime on a cheap dime store radio tucked under his pillow.
More Chicago Bulls articles by Steve:
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- Nazr Mohammed