HOUSTON (AP) - The Houston Rockets finally have a center again.
The Chicago Bulls will not match Houston's three-year, $25 million offer sheet on Omer Asik, a person with direct knowledge of the decision said Tuesday on condition of anonymity because Chicago had not officially announced the move.
Asik averaged 3.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and one block in 66 games last season. He helped Turkey earn the silver medal at the 2010 FIBA world championship. Turkey didn't qualify for the 2012 OIympics in London.
The Rockets have needed a solid big man since Yao Ming's career was derailed by foot injuries. Yao retired last summer. Houston has reportedly been in the mix to land Orlando All-Star Dwight Howard, but so far, the Magic seem content to keep him.
The 7-foot Asik was a second-round pick by Portland in the 2008 draft, and he was immediately traded to Chicago. He played in Turkey until joining the Bulls before the 2010-11 season. He broke his left fibula in Game 3 of the 2011 Eastern Conference finals against Miami, but recovered in time to play the entire 2011-12 season.
The acquisition of Asik is the latest in a flurry of moves for Houston this offseason, headlined by the acquisition of Jeremy Lin. The Rockets have missed the playoffs three straight years, and general manager Daryl Morey has virtually reconstructed the roster.
The Rockets started making moves a few days before the draft, trading Chase Budinger and Samuel Dalembert in separate deals. The initial goal was to collect draft picks and other assets to entice Orlando to consider trading Howard, a six-time All-Star widely regarded as the best center in the game.
Houston couldn't pull off a deal on draft night, and used their three first round picks on Connecticut guard Jeremy Lamb, Iowa State forward Royce White and Kentucky forward Terrence Jones. Morey opened free agency by getting Asik, a restricted free agent, to agree to the offer sheet.
Point guard Goran Dragic, an unrestricted free agent, signed with Phoenix, so Morey turned to Lin, who was in Houston's training camp for two weeks in December before joining the New York Knicks. Houston traded point guard Kyle Lowry, waited for the Knicks to make their decision, then introduced Lin at a packed press conference on the practice court at the Toyota Center.
Houston also decided to waive popular forward Luis Scola, using the amnesty clause, and dealt guard Courtney Lee to Boston via a sign-and-trade.