NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Rockets' Jimmy Butler Plans, Chris Paul, More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 27, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 23: Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets drives to the basket against Jimmy Butler #23 of the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game Four of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2018 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Rockets defeated the Timberwolves 119-100. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Since the start of the NBA offseason, the Houston Rockets have been one of the primary teams mentioned in trade rumors. 

The first set of offseason reports mentioned a possible departure for Chris Paul, but now they are trending toward the team adding a third piece to help Paul and James Harden contend for a championship.

Houston is reportedly looking for ways to dump salary in order to bring in Jimmy Butler, who they can't afford in free agency. 

Even though the Rockets are demanding the spotlight when it comes to offseason trade rumors, they are not the only team reportedly looking to make deals. 


Latest Trade Rumors

Houston's Pursuit of Jimmy Butler

According to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski, Houston is canvassing teams with significant salary-cap space to take on the contracts of Clint Capela, Eric Gordon or P.J. Tucker.

In return, the Rockets are looking for the best available first-round pick, which can then be turned around in a potential sign-and-trade deal with Philadelphia for Butler. 

Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The complicated set of maneuvers might not even happen if Butler and the Sixers come to terms on a deal. 

In his report, Wojnarowski stated there is no formal indication yet if Philadelphia is interested in a trade or if Butler wants to come to Houston. 

So that means the Rockets are just doing research on ways they can get Butler to join up with Paul and Harden, no matter how difficult it may be. 

A potential trade package for Philadelphia could be more intriguing with a first-round draft pick attached since there is no guarantee the Sixers would be interested in taking on one or more contracts. 

Even if a deal does not come to fruition, Houston must be commended for at least sniffing around the possibility of it happening since the Western Conference appears to be more wide open than it has been in previous seasons.


Paul Reportedly Never Asked For Trade

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Paul never demanded a trade away from the Rockets. 

Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

A previous report from Yahoo's Vincent Goodwill stated the relationship between the 34-year-old and Harden was deemed unsalvageable. 

Paul also told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle Sunday he did not request a trade away from the Rockets. 

"I never asked for a trade," he said. "I never demanded a trade."

With the Paul rumors put to rest, Houston can now focus on improving its roster with the NBA Finals in sight. 

Since Golden State is expected to take a down turn in form due to Klay Thompson's ACL injury and the possible departure of Kevin Durant, Houston sits in a great spot to finally win a championship.

It will need all the help it can get to achieve that goal since the Los Angeles Lakers have already bolstered their roster through the Anthony Davis trade, and other contenderslike Portland and Utahare expected to get better as well. 


Cleveland Trying To Trade J.R. Smith

Yahoo's Chris Haynes reported Tuesday the Cleveland Cavaliers are trying to trade J.R. Smith, who might end up with the Lakers once the process is done. 

Scott R. Galvin/Associated Press

"Cleveland, right now, they are trying to trade J.R. Smith," he said. "Whichever team trades for J.R. right now most likely he will be waived. When he is waived, it is my belief that he will end up with the Lakers."

The 33-year-old is not a great fit in Cleveland any more, with head coach John Beilein taking the team in a younger direction with Collin Sexton and Darius Garland as its centerpieces. 

The Cavaliers might not be able to get much in return for Smith, but their biggest gain in a trade is dumping his $15 million salary for the 2019-20 season, per Spotrac.

Clearing his contract a year before he becomes an unrestricted free agent allows the Cavs to give their young players more time on the court, and it lets Smith join up with a contender if he wants to chase another title. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.