As we get set for the Bulls season, let's take a closer look at each player on the projected roster.
Salary: $1.857 million
Role for Bulls in 2011-'12: Asik is expected to improve as the Bulls' backup center. The organization believes he still has a lot of room to improve on the floor and management expects him to make another step in his progression this season. Asik is a large insurance policy the Bulls can cash if Joakim Noah goes down with another injury this year.
What happened this summer?: Asik spent the first portion of the summer recovering from the broken fibula he suffered against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. After recovering, the seven-footer played for Team Turkey in the European Championships. In the process, he clearly added some muscle, as evidenced by his bulked up physique.
Best-case scenario: Already considered one of the best defensive players on the team, Asik becomes more of an offensive threat and gives Tom Thibodeau yet another option off the bench.
"He says he's pain free," Thibodeau said after Friday night's win over the Indiana Pacers. "He's not in great shape yet. And normally he is in great shape. That's who he is. He's a great worker, but he had to stay off the foot for a while. He says physically he feels fine. He just has to get his conditioning up."
Worst-case scenario: Asik struggles to stay on the floor because of injury issues and continues to have issues with foul trouble. He doesn't improve and loses a lot of the trade value the Bulls believe he has.
Bottom line: Like Taj Gibson, Asik is going to be looking for a contract extension at the end of the season. If he continues to improve and be a defensive force, he will get one. If he develops any kind of offensive game, he will be once of the most valued young trade chips in the league.