Marc Cornstein, the agent for Darko Milicic, confirmed the Bulls have expressed interest in his client, who was a recent amnesty cut by the Timberwolves. League sources also indicated the Bulls are casting a wide net for other lower-salaried big men in free agency.
Though management isn’t commenting publicly, these moves would suggest the Bulls won’t match Asik’s offer, which contains a so-called “poison pill” third-year salary of close to $14.9 million. The Rockets waived Jon Leuer and Jerome Jordan on Wednesday and will sign Asik to his offer sheet when those players clear the 48-hour waiver process.
Once formally presented with the offer sheet, the Bulls will have three days to match or decline.
This news — while far from confirmed — isn’t terribly surprising.
Asik’s fate was probably sealed by that “poison pill” year. Omer’s defensive skills are without question and last season he led the team in both Offensive Rebounding Rate (14.9) and Total Rebounding Rate (20.1) while coming in second (to Carlos Boozer) in Defensive Rebounding Rate (25.1).
But Asik came in dead last in Offensive Rating (97), trailing the likes of Brian Scalabrine (98) and Mike James (101). And his Player Efficiency Rating of 13.4. The league average PER is 15.0. And Asik’s Turnover Percentage in 2011-12 was a staggering 25.2, meaning he coughed the ball up one out of every four times he tried to make a play.
The point is $14.9 million is a pretty massive one-year hit for a one-dimensional player like Asik. Maybe if he’d shown some sign — any sign — of offensive aptitude, the situation might be different. But poor Omer has hands of stone and his post moves are more accurately tracked via calendar than stop watch.
By comparison, Derrick Rose will be making around $17 million during the season Asik would be slated to make his $14.9 million. Forget the luxury tax. Wouldn’t that be money better spent on finding another star-level teammate to play alongside D-Rose?
Of course it would.
That being said, the idea of the Bulls signing Milicic sends a cold shiver down my spine. He may be even more dreadful on the offensive end than Omer. Did you know Darko’s career Offensive Win Share total is -3.7? And his career field goal percentage of 46.0 is ghastly for somebody whose offensive repertoire consists of “dunks” and “layups.”
Here’s what ESPN’s John Hollinger wrote in his scouting report on Darko prior to the 2011-12 season:
One of the most bizarre events in the weird world of the Wolves was watching them repeatedly dump the ball in to Milicic in the post as though he were any good at offense. He’s not. Milicic has poor offensive instincts, turns it over too much, and doesn’t draw fouls.
Here’s what Hollinger said about Darko’s defense:
He is genuinely useful at the defensive end. He was third among centers in blocks per minute and graded strongly in Synergy’s stats, with his length at the rim making up for a lot of shortcomings around him. He’s a disappointing rebounder and doesn’t always play hard.
Mind you, Darko hasn’t signed with the Bulls nor is he anywhere close to doing so as far as I know. But management is looking at him and other blue light special big men because, well, Asik is in all likelihood heading to Houston.