Rockets Rumors: Latest on Jimmy Butler, Danny Green, Brook Lopez and More

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 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 reportedly have their eye on several potential signings in free agency, including four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler.

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, Butler would be a "dream addition" for Houston. Aside from Butler, the Rockets are reportedly interested in wings Danny Green and Jeremy Lamb, power forwards Al-Farouq Aminu and Kevon Looney, and centers Brook Lopez and DeAndre Jordan.

Houston is looking to shake things up after falling to the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the playoffs last season.

Rumors started to swirl Tuesday regarding Houston's reported interest in Butler. Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets are planning to recruit Butler into a sign-and-trade with the Philadelphia 76ers since they don't have the cap space needed to sign him.

Adding Butler would give Houston a third All-Star-caliber player to join James Harden and Chris Paul. Center Clint Capela is also bordering on All-Star status, although Wojnarowski noted that two of Capela, Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker would likely need to be included in a deal for Butler to make the salaries work.

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A core of Harden, Paul, Capela and Butler would likely make Houston the odds-on favorite in the Western Conference with the Warriors facing uncertainty since both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are set to hit free agency, and both could miss all of 2019-20 due to injury regardless of where they sign.

Just two seasons ago, the Rockets had the NBA's best record and reached Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, so it may not take much for them to return to championship contention.

The 29-year-old Butler averaged 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.9 steals per game in 65 contests split between the Sixers and Minnesota Timberwolves last season. He averaged 20 or more points per game in each of the previous four seasons in a bigger role, and he is also a four-time NBA All-Defensive selection, which means acquiring him would ease the sting of losing a defensive stopper like Tucker.

There are question marks when it comes to Houston's existing chemistry, as sources told Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports that the relationship between Harden and Paul is "unsalvageable." Paul and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey have denied any such issues, however.

If Houston is unable to add an All-Star like Butler to play alongside Harden and Paul, there are other quality options who could still help establish the Rockets as a top contender in the West.

Green stands out due to his three-point shooting, defensive acumen and winning experience. The 32-year-old knocked down a career-best 46.5 percent of his threes last season and helped lead the Toronto Raptors to their first championship in franchise history.

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He is also a one-time NBA All-Defensive selection, and he previously won a title with the San Antonio Spurs.

Lamb can't touch Green in terms of experience since he has played in just 14 playoff games, but he averaged a career-high 15.3 points per game last season and would seemingly be a great fit in Houston's up-tempo offense.

Lopez could also play well in the Rockets' system as a potential complement to Capela. The 31-year-old 7-footer has added a three-point shot to his repertoire in recent years, and he made a career-high 2.3 trifectas per game with the Milwaukee Bucks last season.

Jordan, Looney and Aminu are closer to role players than true impact performers, but all of them would give the Rockets some much-needed frontcourt depth if Morey decides to go in that direction.

Houston undoubtedly needs to shake things up if it wants to establish itself as the team to beat in the wide-open Western Conference, especially on the heels of the Los Angeles Lakers pairing LeBron James with Anthony Davis.

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