DEERFIELD, Ill. -- While many around the NBA seem surprised that Omer Asik has received a three-year offer sheet from the Houston Rockets worth $25.1 million, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau isn't in that group.
"Pretty much things like that are going to happen," Thibodeau said Monday morning. "I think when teams win the value of the players goes up, and he's done a great job for us."
ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported on Sunday that Asik had reached a verbal agreement with the Rockets. The third-year center can't formally sign the deal until July 11, at which point the Bulls would have three days to match it. Asik averaged just 3.1 points last season but is one of the Bulls' better defenders.
"I don't think you can measure him statistically," Thibodeau said. "Even though some of his statistics are very, very good. But he's also very smart, he helps your team execute at both ends, so he has great value in the league."
Thibodeau acknowledged that he didn't want to consider the possibility of losing Asik.
"I don't want to look at it that way," Thibodeau said. "I think in the end we'll weigh everything out and then we'll make a decision ... He's done a great job here for two years. Obviously his defense, shot blocking, rebounding, that part's obvious, but I think offensively his ability to run the floor, screen, get to the offensive board, that's what makes him so valuable to us, so we certainly value all that he brings to our team."
If the Bulls decide not to match they would be left with just one center on the roster, Joakim Noah. The issue for the Bulls is that Asik's deal, which would be worth over $14 million in Year 3, would be a salary cap cruncher for a team that is already hesitant about going deep into the luxury tax. Bulls GM Gar Forman has stated that his team would be making basketball decisions, not financial ones, this summer, but Asik's offer sheet will put that theory to the test.
"You have to look at the entire picture and see what makes the most sense," Thibodeau said. "And I'm sure we'll make a good decision in the end."
For his part, Forman played coy about the offer sheet, only reiterating how important he believes the Turkish center is to his team.
"In regards to Omer, obviously I've seen reports but we haven't seen anything [official] yet as of this time ... First of all, I don't want to speculate until we actually see something. Second of all, I think we've made it clear that we value Omer and it's been our goal that Omer would stay with the Chicago Bulls. But I'm not going to talk about any type of negotiation or anything contractually until we see something."