Rockets sign center Omer Asik

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has added center Omer Asik (pronounced O-mair AH-shick) after the Chicago Bulls chose not to match Houston’s offer sheet for the restricted free agent. Under the terms of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Bulls had three days to match the offer from the Rockets.

Multiple reports said the deal is for three years, $25 million.

“We are excited to add Omer to our roster,” said Morey. “Omer has proven to be a defensive force at every stop in his career – in the Turkish league, in FIBA’s World Championships and EuroBasket competitions, and of course for the past two years for the Chicago Bulls. We are excited to add his rim protection, his rebounding, and the defensive mentality Omer brings to each play.”

Asik (7-0, 255, Turkey) has not missed a game in two seasons with the Bulls and has played in 148 consecutive regular season contests. In those two campaigns with Chicago, Asik has averaged 2.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 0.84 blocks in 13.2 minutes. Considered one of the best defensive centers in the league, Asik grew up playing for Fenerbahçe S.K. Istanbul (2005-10) in his native Turkey. He was loaned to Kadikoy Belediyesi in the Turkish League’s second division for the majority of the 2005-06 season. He also played with the silver-medal-winning Turkish National Team in the U-20 European Championships in Izmir, Turkey. Asik was again a member of the silver-medal-winning Turkish squad at the 2010 FIBA World Championships held in Istanbul. In nine FIBA World Championship matches, he averaged 8.9 points, 6.9 boards, 1.22 blocks and 19.0 minutes per outing. Asik was originally drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers (36th overall) in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft. He had his draft rights traded to Chicago in exchange for three second-round picks.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Omer,” said Rockets Head Coach Kevin McHale. “I’ve admired his physical style of play over the past two seasons as he’s made the transition to the NBA. In his limited minutes, he has proved himself to be an exceptional defensive post player and we will be working with him to continue his progress. Omer has a great understanding of how to play defense and how to move without the ball and I know he will fit in very well with our needs in the low post.”

In a non-related move, the Rockets also announced that the team has waived guard E’Twaun Moore.