The Houston Rockets probably are the second-best team in the Western Conference.
They came up just short of dethroning the Golden State Warriors by taking the defending champs to a Game 7 in the Western Conference finals last season. Houston lost Luc Mbah a Moute and Trevor Ariza over the offseason, but added Carmelo Anthony and James Ennis.
The Rockets still aren’t as good as the Warriors, and even though acquiring disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler via trade would push them closer to Golden State in terms of talent, Houston won’t gut its roster for the veteran forward.
“We would love to see Jimmy come home to Houston,” Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta recently told Steven Godfrey of SB Nation.
“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.”
Butler has asked for a trade out of Minnesota, and although the T-Wolves and Miami Heat reportedly have come close to making a deal, nothing has been completed. Butler can be an unrestricted free agent next summer so it would be a gamble for Houston to give up quality trade assets because he could walk in free agency.
Butler is a Houston native, though, so that could be a reason to remain with the Rockets if they acquired him.