April 1, 2012; Oklahoma City OK, USA; Chicago Bulls center Omer Asik (3) reacts to a foul call during the second quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE
Depending on what the Washington Wizards do with Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis, they could have around $12 million of salary-cap space to spend this summer. It remains to be seen if the Wizards actually use it or bank it towards the 2013 class, but in any event, there are a number of free agents that could help the team's push into playoff contention. We'll take a look at several of those options in this running series. Next up: Omer Asik.
PREVIOUSLY: Eric Gordon, Nicolas Batum, O.J. Mayo, Ryan Anderson, Courtney Lee, Gerald Wallace, Ersan Ilyasova, Carlos Delfino, Lou Williams, Danny Green, George Hill, Marco Belinelli, Landry Fields, Brandon Rush, CJ Miles, Kris Humphries, Jeff Green, Gerald Green, Kirk Hinrich, Goran Dragic, Alonzo Gee, Shannon Brown.
Team: Chicago Bulls.
Type: Restricted free agent.
This past year: Wasn't quite the revelation he was in 2010-11, but wasn't that far off either. He played a few more minutes per game this season, and in some ways, he improved, but in other ways, he was exposed. Offensively, he was a disaster, turning the ball over on 25 percent of his possessions despite holding a usage rate of just 12.6. His shooting efficiency also tumbled from last year, mostly because he shot just 52 percent at the rim this year. Defensively, though, he was as strong as ever, positioning himself beautifully in his pick and roll coverage and grabbing an even higher percentage of available rebounds than he did in 2010-11.
Why he's fit in well: The Wizards have a relatively settled frontcourt, but they lack a seven-foot defensive anchor like Asik. Nene and Kevin Seraphin are likely to man the center position, but both are undersized and both are poor rebounders. Asik may be a reserve, but he would add a new dimension to the Wizards' frontcourt.
Why he might not: His offensive struggles will be magnified on a Wizards team that lacks perimeter shooting and hasn't yet figured out how to compensate for that with strong off-ball movement. The Wizards' frontcourt also is far deeper than the wings.
Likely price tag: Big men get paid, so I could see him getting the full mid-level exception.
Verdict: I actually think Asik would be a valuable piece for the Wizards, but he's also more of a luxury than a necessity right now. His money would probably be better spent upgrading the wings.