Report: Mutombo sought as backup to Yao

Updated: September 2, 2004, 11:55 PM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets are close to a deal that would add veteran center Dikembe Mutombo as the backup to Yao Ming, a television station reported Thursday.

The Rockets would send Eric Piatkowski, Adrian Griffin and Mike Wilks to the Chicago Bulls, Houston television station KRIV said in a report citing anonymous NBA sources.

The deal, which could be done as early as next week, needs the approval of Bulls ownership and the NBA, the station said.

Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson declined comment.

Wilks, a free agent, would have to sign with the Rockets first.

"I have considered this deal to be imminent for about a month," his agent, Bill Neff, said. "In the last week, Carroll Dawson asked me not to sign Mike Wilks with someone else. If it was anybody but Carroll Dawson, I would probably ignore them. Mike Wilks will not be an issue."

Mutombo, an eight-time All-Star and four-time defensive player of the year, has averaged 12.2 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.33 blocked shots in 13 years with New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Denver. He is fourth in NBA history with 2,996 blocks.

He played in 65 games with the Knicks last season, averaging 6.7 rebounds and 5.6 points, before being traded to the Bulls.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press