Chicago receives three reserve guards

Updated: September 8, 2004, 8:07 PM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Hoping to find the rugged low post presence they've been sorely lacking, the Houston Rockets acquired veteran center Dikembe Mutombo in a trade with the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.

The Rockets sent reserve guards Adrian Griffin, Eric Piatkowski and Mike Wilks to the Bulls.

"With the addition of Dikembe, we have bolstered our interior defense and rebounding," Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson said. "Dikembe has had a long distinguished career, but can still contribute on a nightly basis."

An eight-time All-Star and four-time defensive player of the year, Mutombo has averaged 11.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.22 blocked shots in 13 seasons with New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Denver. He is fourth in NBA history with 2,996 blocks, trailing only Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Mark Eaton.

The 7-foot-2 Mutombo was traded to the Bulls in August as part of a deal that sent Jamal Crawford and Jerome Williams to the Knicks.

Mutombo, 38, will be the primary backup for All-Star center Yao Ming and give the Rockets their first true defensive stopper since Olajuwon was on the team in the mid-90s.

Nagging injuries and advancing age have slowed Mutombo in recent years, however, and he averaged only 6.7 rebounds and 5.6 points with the Knicks last season.

Piatkowski joins Chicago after one season in Houston. He averaged 4.1 points in 14.3 minutes, but will be counted on for his 3-point shooting with the Bulls. The 6-6 guard has shot 44 percent from the field over his 10-year career, including 40 percent from behind the arc.

Griffin missed 59 games last season with a sore right knee, playing in only 19 games for Houston. Wilks played in only 26 games with the Rockets last season, averaging 1.9 points a game.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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