HANG TIME, Texas — Maybe it’s time the Rockets struck up a partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. You know the motto: “We always get our man.”
The Rockets appear set to go 2-for-2 in their pursuit of free agents, reeling in center Omer Asik from the Bulls just a week after landing point guard Jeremy Lin from the Knicks.
Chicago has until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday to match the Houston offer sheet, which is a similar $25.1 million bookend to the deal they gave Lin. But it seems the Bulls have already made their decision, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
And just as the Rockets spent that Saturday lockup up a replacement, the Bulls agreed Saturday with a player who could fill in for Asik.
“The Knicks signaled their intention to let Lin go when they reached a sign-and-trade agreement with Raymond Felton. The Bulls appear ready to sign center Nazr Mohammed to replace Asik, with Mohammed indicating via Twitter he is leaving the Thunder.
The Rockets had reached agreement with Asik in the first full day of free agency after meeting with him as soon as the free agency recruiting period began at midnight July 1. They tried to trade for Asik, a stellar defensive player off the Bulls’ bench, the past two seasons. He averaged 3.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in 14.7 minutes per game last season.
The pair of Lin and Asik gives Houston six 6 new faces to build around that are full of potential. Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terence Jones, first round picks in this year’s draft and Donatas Motiejunas, their top pick in 2011, all shined at the Las Vegas Summer League and could be the basis of youth movement.
However, none of the recent moves means the Rockets have taken themselves out of the running for Dwight Howard. The Rockets can still have salary cap room and general manager Daryl Morey is maintaining his full-court press on his Orlando counterpart Rob Hennigan. The Rockets are willing to either sending the Magic a package of players and draft picks for Howard — even for a short-term rental if he won’t sign a contract extention — or perhaps to facilitate a three-team with the Lakers that could land center Andrew Bynum in Houston.
It wasn’t too long ago when much of the NBA was puzzled as to what exactly Morey was doing by gutting his roster. Not anymore.
First Lin, now Asik. Already at 2-for-2 this summer, if the Rockets do go on to land their big man, the Mounties might have to surrender their motto.