Bulls Trade Rumors: Chicago Shouldn't Get Caught Up in Dwight Howard Saga

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 21: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic argues a call during a preseason game against the Miami Heat at Amway Center on December 21, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls should take the fact that Dwight Howard didn't include them on his shortlist of possible destinations as a sign they should avoid the drama altogether. It simply isn't worth the headache to a team already in title contention.

Marc Stein of ESPN reported over the weekend that Chicago was still holding out hope Howard would eventually become interested in joining Team USA teammate Derrick Rose:

The Bulls, I'm told, are stunned (and somewhat miffed) that Howard doesn't have them on his wish list, struggling to believe he's not angling to hook up with D-Rose in a true (if frigid) NBA metropolis.

And interesting won't begin to describe the situation if these teams do start talking seriously, with Orlando sure to want Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson and Chicago more likely to try to sell the Magic on the likes of Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Omer Asik.

Howard has been steadfast in his request to be traded and the teams he'd be willing to sign an extension with following a potential move. The likelihood he's going to change his mind to include the Bulls is probably the same of him reversing course to accept a new deal to stay in Orlando.

In other words, slim to none.

He's shown no desire to examine new ideas. His mind has been made up. It's apparently the Lakers, Mavericks, Nets or bust for the All-Star center.

While the Bulls would certainly benefit from adding a dynamic talent like Howard to their roster, the pursuit wouldn't be worth the payoff, considering the high price they would have to pay to get him.

Look at a player like Carlos Boozer, for example. He's struggling to live up to expectations as it is—could you imagine if he were suddenly thrust into trade negotiations for Howard? He'd be a mess on the court, and the Bulls can't afford for that to happen if they want to make a deep playoff run.

As it stands now, the Bulls are 23-7 and lead the Eastern Conference by a game over the favored Miami Heat. That's despite Rose's ongoing injury problems and a lack of production from Boozer.

The main reason Chicago has continued to succeed is the team's terrific depth. Nine players are averaging at least 19 minutes per game, and five are scoring double-digit points.

A lot of that depth would have to be sacrificed to add Howard to the mix, whether it's before this season's deadline or during the summer. The combination of Rose and Howard would be right there with the NBA's best one-two punches, but the rest of the roster would need to be scraped together.

The New York Knicks have proven that approach doesn't guarantee success. And the Bulls would have to tear down something that's proven to work, just for a chance to see if the superstar style does.

That's a lot of risk for somebody who isn't even interested in the team right now and would have to be convinced it's a good spot for him. As the Magic have learned, Howard isn't exactly the most loyal player in the league.

All told, the Bulls are better off worrying about ways to put the finishing touches on the talented roster they already have than seeking drastic changes.

Howard doesn't consider Chicago his future home. It's time to accept it and move on.