Pelicans and center Omer Asik come to an agreement on a new deal _lowres

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--Memphis Grizzlies forward Tony Allen (9) gets his shot blocked by New Orleans Pelicans center Omer Asik (3) in the fourth quarter during the Pelicans 95-89 come from behind win at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, La. Saturday, March 7, 2015.

The Pelicans and center Omer Asik have come to an agreement to keep the starting center in New Orleans.

The franchise locked up its highest unrestricted free agent priority late Wednesday night when the two sides came to an agreement on a long-term agreement which is not fully guaranteed, per several sources close to the situation.

The deal is for five years and $58 million, though only $44 million and the first four years are guaranteed.

Asik came to New Orleans last offseason as part of a trade with the Houston Rockets, in exchange for a first-round pick. His free agency was a integral part of the Pelicans’ 2015 offseason plans.

Not only is Asik the team’s starting center, his contract also allows the team to use his Larry Bird rights to exceed the salary cap.

New Orleans has now topped the projected salary cap, meaning its only fiscal path in free agency to bring in outside players (or returners Dante Cunningham and Jimmer Fredette) is through the $5.5 million mid-level exception or $2.1 million bi-annual exception.

Asik is the second unrestricted free agent center to agree to terms with the Pelicans on Wednesday, joining backup Alexis Ajinca, who reached a four-year, $20.2 million contract in the afternoon.