The Chicago Bulls off-season was nothing short of bizarre. In an attempt to solve their looming salary cap issues Chicago made some of the biggest changes in recent years to their bench or as Chicago fans call them “The Bench Mob”. Fans saw players such as Ronnie Brewer traded to the New York Knicks, Kyle Korver to the Atlanta Hawks, and CJ Watson later picked up and signed by the Brooklyn Nets. But the player that’s making the most noise since being traded is Omer Asik, who was signed away by the Houston Rockets.
Many thought the 7-foot 255 pound center wasn’t worth the salary increase, which would have seen Asik salary raise from $5 million in years one and two to $15 million in year three. To some Asik was a good defender and rim protector, but was an offensive liability, occasionally fumbling passes and continuously struggling from the free throw line. Asik’s blunders proved costly in game 6 of the playoffs last season when he missed two free throws in the last minute, allowing the Philadelphia 76ers to take the lead and the series. But having said all of that it’s Asik who could get the last laugh.
As a member of the Rockets Asik is averaging 9.9 ppg and 13 rpg (which is third best in the NBA). He’s also recorded three double-doubles. And if that wasn’t enough, Asik is 21 of 29 from the free throw line all the while playing 32 minutes a night.
Asik is capitalizing on every part of his game that Chicago seen as a liability. Can he keep up this pace as the season goes on? Who knows. But as of this moment he’s making the Bulls decision to let him go in free agency look questionable. Especially with the the four-year. $33 million dollar contact agreement Taj Gibson signed which we all expected to be more.
If Asik keeps playing at this level Bulls fans and front office might just wish they had kept him on the payroll.