NBA Rumors: Houston Rockets Would Be Foolish to Give Up on Samuel Dalembert

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 13:  Samuel Dalembert #10 of the Sacramento Kings reacts to the crowd during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 13, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Kings defeated the Suns 113-108.  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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets' interest in signing free agent center Samuel Dalembert has cooled off a bit recently, and the team would be foolish not to sign the big man given their desperate need at center.

Since Yao Ming's foot problems started hurting the team's ability to dominate the paint both offensively and defensively, the Rockets have had a real need to find a long-term solution at center.

Dalembert is the top free agent big man on the market right now, and with Houston passing on him, the Sacramento Kings, Dalembert's old team, appear to be the front-runners to sign him.

This is a foolish move for the Rockets because they need a center or they won't compete in the Western Conference.

Since the NBA killed the original Chris Paul trade that would have seen the Rockets land Los Angeles Lakers star big man Pau Gasol, Houston has been actively looking at their options to acquire a top big man.

Houston has no one capable of playing center effectively on opening day. The only possibilities on the roster are Jordan Hill, who would be undersized at that position, and rookie big man Donatas Motiejunas, who is best-suited as a power forward.

Dalembert would not give the Rockets a prolific scorer in the paint, but his defense and rebounding skills are quite good.

You can never have enough big men who can defend the paint and rebound against top players. They are so valuable to teams on a nightly basis.

Houston cannot afford to go into this season without a legitimate center who can carry the team defensively.

Dalembert averaged 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game last season for the Kings, and has averaged more than eight rebounds per game in each of the last six seasons.

Dalembert's price may go up because he is the only center on the market teams really covet, but the longer it takes for him to sign, the further the price may go down.

The Rockets should be patient with Dalembert, and they must not severely overpay, but not signing him for reasonable money would be a mistake given their strong need of a center.