The Houston Rockets made a huge splash in free agency by acquiring center Dwight Howard. They've been at the forefront of trade discussions since November, thanks to their repeated attempts to deal disgruntled center Omer Asik. But now it looks like the Rockets might become embroiled in even more trade rumors, this time involving Chicago Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy.
USA Today's Sam Amick reports:
According to a person with knowledge of the Rockets' thinking, Chicago Bulls small forward Mike Dunleavy is high on their wish list as the deadline nears. ... The Rockets haven't acted on this impulse just yet, as a person with knowledge of the Bulls' dealings said Houston has yet to call to discuss a possible deal.
The Rockets' interest in Dunleavy makes little sense.
Houston is not exactly hurting at the small forward position, with Chandler Parsons playing at an extremely high level. What the Rockets really need is defense—they came into Wednesday ranked 24th in the NBA in defensive efficiency, according to Basketball-Reference. Dunleavy isn't a terrible defender, per se, but he's not the kind of player who can single-handedly make the Rockets defense elite.
Also, the Bulls are probably not interested in trading Dunleavy. They just traded Luol Deng and will reap a financial windfall from that deal, according to the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson:
Paxson on $20.6 million of luxury tax savings: "We are confident we are going to take these resources and put them back into our team."— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 7, 2014
If they are truly planning to reinvest that savings into next year's team, then they might as well hold on to Dunleavy. He plays the same position as Deng, so the Bulls can look to improve their team in other areas. He is one of the few bright spots on Chicago's offense, leading the team with a .565 true shooting percentage.
Most importantly, Dunleavy is on an extremely team-friendly contract. He makes $3 million this season and will make $3 million in 2014-15. The Bulls have absolutely no reason to move him, unless they are blown away.
The Rockets might as well do their due diligence on Dunleavy, but he is more of a luxury than a necessity. They should focus their search on a tough perimeter defender.
*All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.