|Omer Asik will likely be a Rocket on Wednesday. (Getty Images)|
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Bulls will announce Tuesday they are not matching the Rockets' three-year, $25 million offer sheet for center Omer Asik. The Bulls have an 11:59 p.m. ET deadline to match.
The contract is built with a "poison pill" in the same structure as Jeremy Lin's, and there has been widespread speculation since the offer was agreed to that Chicago, always afraid of the luxury tax and facing escalating salaries in 2015, would pass on matching the offer sheet, which is structured to pay the Turkish center $14.9 million in 2015.
Losing Asik is more of a problem than it seems on the surface. It was Asik along with Taj Gibson who often closed games for the Bulls with their defensive play, rather than Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. Together, the two combined to allow just 86 points per 100 possessions, one of the best combos on the team in extended minutes.
But the Bulls are forever mindful of the luxury tax, whether for financial reasons or reasons of principle. They'll let Asik walk, and the Rockets will get a franchise center that they hop can put up big minutes he's never played before. The Rockets' structure on the contract meants that just over $8 million will count against Houston's cap in 2015, but the Rockets will still owe Asik the $14.9 million in salary.