The Houston Rockets are being decidedly weird only a few days into NBA free agency, and not the good kind of weird. First and foremost is that "poison pill" offer sheet to restricted free agent Omer Asik, which is set to pay the Chicago Bulls' backup center the equivalent of a max contract in its third and final season. The Rockets are also apparently set to let Goran Dragic walk and trade Kyle Lowry, while chasing after Jeremy Lin of the Knicks. Color me surprised on that one, too.
On Tuesday night, the Rockets added to their buzz-generating offseason by announcing they pulled an offer sheet to shooting guard Courtney Lee, which turns the restricted free agent into an unrestricted free agent. Lee can now sign with whomever he wants, and the Rockets don't have the luxury of matching.
This is good news for the Bulls, who are interested in the services of the 26-year old.
Bulls have already reached out to Courtney Lee.— K.C Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 4, 2012
Considering I spent Tuesday bitching about how the Bulls were better off exercising C.J. Watson's $3.2 million option instead of throwing their entire mid-level exception at Kirk Hinrich, this is great news. With a market already shaping for the 6-foot-5 shooting guard, who knows how much money Lee could draw. He could very well be too expensive for our Bulls, who don't have much to work with in terms of payroll flexibility. Lee is certainly better than Hinrich, though, and he could possibly give Chicago a long-term fix at the two.
Lee wasn't great last year, but he's shown flashes that he can be a legit starter in the league. The four-year pro out of Western Kentucky averaged 11.4 points per game last season on 43 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent shooting from three-point range. He doesn't offer much in terms of playmaking (1.5 assists per game last season) or rebounding (2.7 per night), but he's young, properly sized, and can shoot the rock.
It would be a nice signing for Chicago. It'll be interesting to see how the Bulls will prioritize Lee. Does he overtake Hinrich as the team's top free agent target?