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Boston Interested in Omer Asik? Why It Probably Won’t Happen

 

The free agency interest train got rolling out of the station ahead of schedule yesterday, as rumors of the C’s interest in Bulls big man Omer Asik took off, thanks to this nugget in a column by Sam Smith of Bulls.com:

The Celtics are one the teams said to be considering a strong offer to Bulls center Asik. The thinking is it might help them retain Kevin Garnett, who though playing very well at center the second half of the season doesn’t want to return as a center.

Now I want to make a couple things clear here before this thing spins out of control. Would Asik be a nice fit on the C’s? Without a doubt. Numbers-wise he’s a top 10 rebounder in the league (by offensive and defensive rebounding rate) during last year’s regular season. He hits the defensive glass as hard as KG and he grabbed 14.9 percent of available offensive rebounds last year when he was on the floor, which comes close to topping the C’s team offensive rebounding rate (I wish I was kidding about that).

Asik is also a strong defensive center, and while he is limited on the offensive end with his production (just 3.7 ppg last season) that low number was a big byproduct of playing just under 15 minutes a game.

With all that said, the chances of Asik coming to Boston are virtually slim-to-none if Garnett returns in a Celtics uniform. The reason? Money and cap room.

There’s lots of talk about how the C’s have plenty of cap room this offseason (up to 22 million actually), and that’s true to a degree. However, that cap room is predicated on the C’s not retaining all of their own players in free agency including Garnett and renouncing those cap holds and in turn, bird rights on the likes of Ray Allen, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass etc. You want big money to spend on the likes of a promising big man like Asik? Be prepared to say goodbye to all of those guys listed from playing in green, adding to the holes on this team’s roster for next season.

Now if Garnett and company sign a big hometown discount, that changes matters, but that’s not a situation I, nor the Celtics are probably counting on.

The other complicating factor here is the fact the 26-year-old Turkish center is a restricted free agent. That means Chicago has the right to match any offer given to him within three days by another team and retain him for that price, giving them a pretty strong advantage in free agency if they like Asik (indications are they do).

If you look at Chicago’s situation heading into this offseason, they are well over the salary cap (and proposed luxury tax) already and will likely only have the mini mid-level (3 million) dollars to spend in free agency. With so little to spend, retaining their own players becomes even more important, making the likelihood of them allowing a guy like Asik sign elsewhere very slim, unless another team grossly overpays him. That kind of overpay scenario is something Danny Ainge is unlikely to do, for someone as limited offensively as Asik is.

The C’s will bring in veteran and youthful bigs this offseason to help their aging core in the rebounding department. Due to the circumstances I just described though, chances are Asik won’t be that guy, especially if Garnett returns to the fold.

  • Batman

    Instead of Asik, I'm thinking of another Turk we can add over the offseason
    SemihAutomatic anyone?

    • LACelticFan

      Might as well bring Semih back even though he is a RFA, but dont think Cleveland will match.

  • High Rollers

    I still don’t get why we gave up Semih to begin with.

    • sk35

      I think just for a roster spot to try to sign guys who were released (like Troy Murphy -ugh. They would've been better off keeping Semih).

      And I agree with Robb. Don't see him going to Boston. I think most times, it isn't worth pursuing restricted FA unless the former team makes it clear that they don't want the player. Why offer a bunch of money – money you can't offer elsewhere until that play accepts or refuses or until the other team matches – and time for something that likely won't pan out. I would love the Celts to get Hibbert but what are the chances Indiana lets him leave? Maybe have a conversation with his agent to gauge interest and then move on.

  • GreenM&M

    Good call Mr. Robb. These Asik rumors are BOGUS.

    His addition to the team only really makes sense if KG comes back. But then we won't have any $$ to sign him

    If we go into rebuild mode ti would be absolutely ludicrous to spend top dollar on a defensive role player with such a limited offensive game when we should be saving our money to go after a franchise type guy.

  • NHBluesMan

    bring back Semih!

    Although, i don't know who would get the start call between him and Steamer, but i'd take either of them over Hollins anyday

    • GreenM&M

      And remember Semi was playing with a bum shoulder the whole time last year.

  • High Rollers

    Sounds to me like renouncing rights is the best way to pull off some “shenanigans.”

    Forsberg piece on head domino KG:
    http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4695295/why-kg-is-the-first-domino-for-cs

  • ElRoz

    The Celtics have Paul Pierce earning as much as LeBron James (of course Florida has lower taxes – so LeBron is making more). Is Paul Pierce worth over $16 million a year? Paul and KG I'm sure want the team to get better – but are they willing to take a pay cut – a serious one – to see that happen? I doubt it.
    That's one of the problems.

    • Batman

      Well if we're talking on the court play Paul shouldn't be making more than 10 mill anymore
      But that 16 mill is a loyalty thing so its all right

      • John V

        And I don't think there is any option for Pierce to reduce his salary even if he were willing to do so. Both sides are bound by the existing contract. There is no opt-out clause (at least not this summer).

  • High Rollers

    I can see KG being a reasonable man in terms of his next contract with the C’s. But if you think you can amnesty or trade Paul and still expect to retain Ticket, you can probably think again.

  • John V

    I feel like Jeff Green's agent is pricing him way too high, and he wasn't a great fit for the Celtics anyway.

    I don't know where that Chicago columnist got the "KG doesn't want to come back as a center" thing from. I think it is probably an overstatement. I also think, based on 17 years of KG's career, there's at least a kernel of truth to it. He wants to be a 4, not a 5.

    Given that, I would put Asik ahead of Green and Bass. So, I don't think it's so crazy. It is complicated by the fact that he's an RFA, so they might have to renounce Green and/or Bass just to make the offer, and the Chicago could match. They'd have to take a calculated risk. But if they get the feeling that some team is going to offer Green a contract they wouldn't match anyway, there is room for Asik.

  • LACelticFan

    June 19, 1986 – Len Bias passed away. Lenny and Reggie would've kept Pitino away.

  • High Rollers

    Okay, Russell Westbrook, grit and balls is one thing, decision making another. That foul with five seconds on the shot clock off the jump ball is somewhat forgivable but not getting the ball to the scoring champ when he is played by Wade… multiple times?!??! Thunder looking every bit their age unfortunately. No short-cuts to greatness.

    • CelticsBIG3

      Dude is a straight chucker. Lebron appeared to me to be faking his knee injury, but we shall see

      • High Rollers

        I miss our group.

  • CelticsBIG3

    Why we won't get Asik? Cause we've thrown ENOUGH money at useless centers over the last several years.

  • Kafel

    Damn it… Celtics pushed Miami to the edge and almost pull it off and Thunder are going to win only one game? This shows how good Boston was playing and also that They could have great shot against young but unexperienced Oklahoma.

    • Perk

      Celtics is a good team but it would have ended in 5 games if Bosh wasn't injured.

      • GMan

        And if Bradley, Green, Wilcox, Allen weren't injured? + others, but I think that list should do.

      • sightline

        And what if Bradley, Wilcox, JO and Green were healthy. Another story altogether my friend. Celtics in 5.

        • GreenM&M

          Cs did a much better job of exploiting the match ups (Rondo wreaking havoc, KG nside) than OKC has done thus far.

          And Doc is a MUCH better tactician than Brooks. No way Doc keeps Perk on the floor over Collison or plays D-Fish so much (sorry Perk, you know we love you !)

  • GMan

    Given what's said in the article, I guess the C's are thinking Sign and Trade. If they are interested at all. I don't think Asik is a good fit for Rondo. If the C's management thinks they need a big, unathletic, rebounding Center I'd rather go after Kaman, he should be cheaper and may join for less years.

    • John V

      I don't understand why people seem to think Kaman would come cheaply. He was an All-Star two years ago. Per 40 minutes, he averaged 18 and 10 last year. He's getting a multi-year contract for something more than the mini mid-level.

      I don't know if Asik would be cheaper, but he's 5 years younger and much better defensively.

      • Wok

        You gotta go for a championship and that means Roy Hibbard has to play alongside kg & pp & ab & rr
        Wok

        • John V

          I am not a fan of Hibbert, but I don't think it even matters. He'll get $10 – 12 million per year on a long-term deal. There's no way Hibbert plays alongside KG. Cs could get him if KG retires, but why?

  • High Rollers

    Okay, renouncing rights doesn’t work. You can’t sign a guy back whom you’ve renounced (reading DA quotes today).

    On a different note, I wonder how much activity Wilcox and Uncle Jeff are up to at this point… I like those dudes.

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