Two seasons ago, when the Bulls were starting Keith Bogans at shooting guard, Houston offered to trade Courtney Lee for Omer Asik and the Bulls turned them down.
Now with the Rockets poised to offer Asik a three-year, $25.1 million deal, which includes a third-year salary of $14.9 million, Lee is drawing interest from the Bulls.
Houston rescinded its qualifying offer to Lee on Wednesday, making him an unrestricted free agent. The Bulls will make a pitch to the four-year pro, who averaged 11.4 points last season.
The Bulls can offer only their $3 million mid-level exception or the league’s minimum salary. Whether or not they match the offer for Asik doesn’t make a difference, except in the Bulls luxury-tax bill next season.
Lee is a 6-5 guard from Western Kentucky. He’s shot a respectable .439 from the field during his NBA career, including. 386 from 3-point range.
Lee has played for three teams in four seasons – the Magic, Nets and Rockets. Like first-round draft pick Marquis Teague, Lee attended Pike High School in Indianapolis.
As it stands, the Bulls’ payroll will be roughly $69 million for nine players if they match Asik’s offer and $64 million for eight players if they don’t. The luxury tax threshold is expected to stay about the same as last year, when it was$70.3 million. So for every dollar the Bulls exceed that number, they’ll have to pay a dollar-for-dollar penalty.
Besides Lee, former Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich is believed to be the team’s top target in free agency. They're also expected to meet soon with former Blazers guard Brandon Roy, whose planning a comeback after retiring with knee problems a year ago.