Jimmy Butler Rumors: Rockets to Pursue 76ers Star Through Sign-and-Trade

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers' Jimmy Butler in action during the first half of Game 6 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Philadelphia. 76ers won 112-101. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets are planning to pursue free-agent guard Jimmy Butler when free agency begins Sunday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Although the Rockets don't have the salary-cap space to add Butler to their roster, they would push for a sign-and-trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. Such a move could include Clint Capela and Eric Gordon for salary-matching purposes, Wojnarowski noted.

There has been "buzz" around Butler and the Rockets since before he was traded to the 76ers, according to Alykhan Bijani of the Athletic, who added Houston is confident in its pursuit and will meet with him in Philadelphia.

Per Wojnarowski, the 76ers will be "aggressive" in trying to re-sign Butler, whom they acquired in a trade during this past season.

He averaged 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in 55 appearances for the 76ers. 

The Sixers can offer Butler a five-year, $189.7 million max deal to stay in Philly and try to make another run alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. 

On the other hand, the Rockets could provide him a chance to play next to James Harden and Chris Paul. Butler would give them another go-to option offensively who can also play elite defense on the perimeter.

Houston can sign him to a four-year, $140.6 million contract via a sign-and-trade with Philadelphia. Although the Sixers wouldn't need to comply if the Rockets somehow cleared enough cap space to sign him outright, it would allow them to add get something back for Butler instead of letting him go for nothing.

The Rockets acquired Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers via a sign-and-trade in 2017, sending out Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Patrick Beverley and more. That deal helped the Clippers remain in playoff contention, which the Sixers would likely look to emulate if they do go this route.