Bulls Draft Rumors: Could Chicago And Houston Be Trade Partners?

The Chicago Bulls enter the 2012 offseason in flux, with Derrick Rose out indefinitely, Luol Deng likely delaying wrist surgery to play in the 2012 Summer Olympics and key contributors C.J. Watson and Omer Asik entering the open market. There has been speculation that the Bulls might try and move a player for a higher draft pick, and today NBA.com's Sam Smith speculates that the Rockets may be a possible trade partner for the Bulls.

As Smith notes, the Rockets have been on a pursuit to acquire a center ever since the retirement of Yao Ming. They signed Samuel Dalembert last season after their trade for Pau Gasol was nixed as a part of the aborted Chris Paul-to-the Lakers deal. They've also long been in pursuit of Dwight Howard, even though it's unclear if the Orlando Magic big man would sign a long term deal with the Rockets.

According to Smith, the Rockets have coveted Asik. Houston holds draft picks at No. 14 and 16 overall, and it's widely believed throughout the league that they are looking to trade one of those picks. Smith, though, thinks that maybe the Bulls should look to give the Rockets Joakim Noah, in return possibly acquiring one of those picks as well as a rotation player like shooting guard Courtney Lee. That, in Smith's mind, would make Asik's salary bump more palatable, as playing time would now be much more available.

For more, stick with SB Nation Chicago. For more on the Bulls, head over to Blog a Bull. For additional news, notes and analysis from around the NBA, visit SB Nation's NBA news hub.

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