Jimmy Butler free agency rumors: Rockets will be ‘aggressive in their pursuit’ of wing

By E.Jay Zarett 19 June 2019 205
Jimmy Butler free agency rumors: Rockets will be ‘aggressive in their pursuit’ of wing

The Rockets are looking to add another star this summer.

Houston is expected to be “aggressive” in its pursuit of Jimmy Butler, according to a report from the Houston Chronicle. The team believes he is an “ideal fit on both ends of court” and can help push it “to the top of the wide-open West,” the report says.

Butler began the season with the Timberwolves before he was sent to the 76ers in mid-November. He averaged 18.2 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 33.8% from 3-point range in 55 regular season games with Philadelphia.

The 76ers are also reportedly interested in re-signing Butler while he has been linked to the Lakers and Nets, as well.

“Hopefully I’ll get a max contract anywhere I choose to go,” Butler told reporters about his free agency last month (via NBC Sports Philadelphia). “You always want to be able to win, I think that’s key for sure. You’re looking at coaches, you’re looking at the city. There’s a lot that goes into it.”

The Rockets finished 2018-19 with a 53-29 record but fell to the Warriors in six games in the Western Conference semifinals. Golden State has eliminated Houston from the playoffs in two straight seasons.

Houston is “actively exploring the trade market for Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker” and is “operating under the belief that at least one of those three” players will not be on the team next season, according to an earlier report from the New York Times.

Rockets guard Chris Paul has asked Houston to move him because his relationship with star James Harden is “unsalvageable,” according to Yahoo Sports. However, Paul and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey both forcefully denied that report shortly after it was published Tuesday.

“I’ve talked to Chris since (the end of the playoffs), for sure,” Morey told the Chronicle. “Myself, (coach) Mike D’Antoni, James Harden are all super competitive, all frustrated we were eliminated from the playoffs, all want to get over the hump. That leads to a lot of competitive fire. All of it is normal. We’re all in the same boat, pursuing the championship. We’re all frustrated we’re not there. But there is nothing past that.

“I’m very frustrated right now. We’re literally trying to do real work on making the team better and every day I have to learn about a new media rock that has been turned over.”

The Celtics have reportedly “checked in” with the Rockets about a potential deal for Capela.

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E.Jay Zarett

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