When the Houston Rockets unofficially won the offseason by landing big man Dwight Howard as a free agent in July, they had every reason to think their winning ways would continue from there.

Yet this upgraded operation hasn't been quite as potent as they'd hoped, with injuries largely to blame but good, old-fashioned underachieving playing as big a part as any. Entering Thursday, Houston has lost eight of its last 18 games and fallen to fifth place in the Western Conference. So it is, then, that a safe assumption can be made about this Rockets team that has been rebuilt by one of the league's most aggressive executives in general manager Daryl Morey: With the Feb. 20 trade deadline nearing, they're not done dealing yet.

This goes beyond the widely known desire to grant the trade request of disgruntled center Omer Asik – although for anyone wondering, it now appears more likely that he'll remain with the Rockets past the deadline than it does he'll be dealt. This is about Morey canvassing the league for the sort of talent that can help his team fulfill its own lofty expectations. As is stands, this much is clear: The Rockets are on the lookout for more help on the perimeter, with a focus on finding someone who can provide more punch behind overburdened shooting guard James Harden (he's second in the league in minutes per game at 38.7).

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 person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because a team's plans aren't typically discussed publicly. 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. And while Chicago's trade of Luol Deng to Cleveland this week had rival executives wondering if the Bulls would now continue breaking up their band, Dunleavy – who signed as a free agent last summer – is held in extremely high regard by his current bosses and there will certainly be a hefty price to pay for anyone who comes calling.