Rockets Trade Rumors: Clint Capela, PJ Tucker, Eric Gordon Shopped Individually

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2019

Houston Rockets' PJ Tucker (17) and Clint Capela (15) defend against Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) in the second half during an NBA basketball game Saturday, April 20, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets are reportedly trying to trade either center Clint Capela, shooting guard Eric Gordon or power forward PJ Tucker for the best available first-round draft pick, which they would attempt to flip in a sign-and-trade deal with the Philadelphia 76ers for star guard Jimmy Butler.

Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN reported the update Wednesday but noted the number of potential suitors is limited because they would need cap space to take on one of those players' salaries.

None of the Rockets' core players—the three trade candidates mentioned above along with James Harden and Chris Paul—are free agents this summer, so the front office has the option of maintaining the status quo with the hope the Golden State Warriors take a step back next season.

Instead, the trade winds continue to gust strong in Houston as general manager Daryl Morey and Co. appear to be ready to shake up a group that's reached the Western Conference Finals twice in the past five years.

Speculation about a rift in the relationship between Harden and Paul has dominated the conversation around the Rockets this summer, and while Tucker labeled it as "fake news" in an interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic, he also hinted it's not all sunshine and rainbows in Houston.

"Nah, but we're talking about winning championships, right? So that's all that matters," Tucker said. "To win a championship. That's it. Nothing else matters. If we win a championship together and we f--king hate each other, then guess what? Who cares?"

Adding the notoriously fickle Butler to the equation could risk further problems, but it'd also mean the Rockets are going all-in to win their first championship since 1995.

Capela, Gordon and Tucker all carry legitimate trade value, so it would come down to the potential trade partner, the team's amount of cap space and where it's projected to finish next year.

It's a fluid situation and one Houston must work through quickly with the 2019 free-agent moratorium period scheduled to open at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, giving Butler access to every franchise as an unrestricted free agent.

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