Worst free agent signing in New Orleans Pelicans history: Omer Asik
5 Years, $60 million
There are certain player archetypes who seem to be valued above and beyond their actual production. Just as wings who can defend can always find a job, so do 7-footers who tend to make more money than they deserve. Such was the case with Omer Asik.
The Turkish center began his career with the Chicago Bulls, then was signed away by the Houston Rockets. After two seasons in Houston, he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans, where he established himself as a reliable center. After one year in New Orleans, he signed a five-year, $60 million contract.
The deal was immediately derided across the media, a gross overpay for a mundane player. The team also gave backup center Alexis Ajinca, committing a hefty sum to the center position when their best player in Anthony Davis needed to see more minutes at the five to maximize his impact.
Minor injuries flared up during the next season, sapping Asik’s effectiveness while on the court. He lost three points and four rebounds off his per-game averages, as he played only 17.3 minutes per game. Even with other frontcourt injuries popping up for New Orleans, he could not muster any real impact.
By the 2016-17 NBA season, Asik was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and he played only 31 games. The Pelicans added DeMarcus Cousins and essentially closed any final spot in the rotation for the ailing center. In early 2018, he was traded to the Bulls in a deal for Nikola Mirotic, but has never appeared in a game for them.