NBA Rumor: Jimmy Butler to Rockets?

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I’m not hugely surprised that the Wolves resisted Houston’s trade offer last week of four future first-round picks for Butler, along with the contracts of Brandon Knight and Marquess Chriss. The stated reason was that the Rockets’ latest proposal features zero players who can help Minnesota immediately, but the biggest factor was presumably this: Minnesota’s owner, Glen Taylor, and Coach Tom Thibodeau are in strong agreement about not wanting to surrender Butler to the Rockets and set them up with a third elite player alongside James Harden and Chris Paul.

Adrian Wojnarowski: “Houston, to me, is the one team in this entire process, the only team in this process, who can rightly believe, ‘If we trade for Jimmy Butler, we think he helps us win a championship this year.’ There’s not another team who can say that who’s really involved in this. The one team that has been on the periphery, and I still think could be heard from in this, is Philadelphia. Because I think they’re a little like Houston right now in that they’re evaluating themselves and they’re saying, ‘Not only are not sure we didn’t improve from last year, I’m not sure we’ll even be the same team.'”

Sam Amick: “And then on the other side of that, you’re just gonna have teams like Miami and Houston, who are gonna realize they need a little more. Houston’s getting off to a tough start, and now these suspensions, it’s even worse. So what does that look like down the line, if their record, if they’re scuffling? This is a team, in terms of expectations, they are the ones talking about, ‘We’re the No. 1 contenders for the crown.’ That’s how they’re talking. That’s a pretty high bar. So maybe it’s Houston putting more on the table than they had before. Maybe it’s Miami.”

Multiple reports have the Rockets eliminated from contention, despite offering a package rumored to be as big as Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, and several draft picks. The reasoning for Houston being ruled out isn’t because of the deal, but because, reportedly, Minnesota doesn’t want the Rockets to become the kind of juggernaut the Western Conference already has in Golden State. “We already are at [that level],” Feritta says in a phone call. “We’re an improved team over last year based on who we’ve acquired this offseason. And last year, obviously, we’re a game away from the Finals. “We would love to see Jimmy come home to Houston. It’s not a financial decision, it’s an assets decision on our part. We’ve got a great basketball team. We think we’re as good as anybody in the league. We’re not going to give up unreasonable assets, to break up this team, to get Jimmy Butler. But we would love to have him.”

While Houston continues to explore its options in the Jimmy Butler saga and has significant interest in landing the disgruntled Minnesota star, strong skepticism remains that the Timberwolves are seriously dedicated to finding a deal. So long as that remains the case, with so many executives convinced that president of basketball operations/coach Tom Thibodeau still wants Butler to stay despite the uncomfortable nature of it all, then these Rockets will have to prepare as if there is no more help on the way. Translation: The prospect of Anthony playing like a legitimate star again would be welcomed. He has plenty of personal incentive, too, as he’ll be a free agent again next summer after signing a one-year, $2.4 million deal with Houston (Anthony was traded by the Thunder to Atlanta in a three-team deal with Philadelphia, then bought out by the Hawks; he’s still slated to earn the $27.9 million he was owed for next season between the buyout and his Rockets deal).

While Houston continues to explore its options in the Jimmy Butler saga and has significant interest in landing the disgruntled Minnesota star, strong skepticism remains that the Timberwolves are seriously dedicated to finding a deal. So long as that remains the case, with so many executives convinced that president of basketball operations/coach Tom Thibodeau still wants Butler to stay despite the uncomfortable nature of it all, then these Rockets will have to prepare as if there is no more help on the way.
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“It definitely caught me off guard. I actually learned about it in the parking lot of the Sports Academy in Frisco, TX. I was leaving a session and my phone was going crazy. I’d seen that DeMar DeRozan had gotten traded to Chicago and I was like, ‘Why is my phone going crazy for this?’ Then, I dive a little deeper into it and I see that the trade included me, Al-Farouq Aminu, some picks and stuff like that. “It definitely caught me off guard for the simple fact that I had just talked to my agent and my agent had just talked to everybody in Chicago, and we were being told that I was coming back. And they guaranteed my salary the day before or two days before or something like that and then used it as trade bait. It is what it is; it happens and it’s part of the business. But the only thing I wish is that I had gotten the heads up before I found out from social [media].