NBA free agency officially begins on Sunday, but the wheels are in full motion on the rumor mill.
Another name set to hit the market is Jimmy Butler. The Philadelphia 76ers reportedly are planning to offer Butler a four- or five-year deal. But it seems that at least one other team plans to recruit the 29-year-old.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Houston Rockets are “planning to recruit” Butler to “push” for a sign-and-trade.
“The Rockets don’t have the salary-cap space to sign Butler, so they’d need the threat of the Sixers losing him for nothing to a team with the available room to motivate the Sixers into a trade,” Wojnarowski wrote.
“The Sixers plan to be aggressive in signing Butler to a new deal, sources said, and could blunt a Rockets push with a full five-year, $190 million offer at the start of free agency on Sunday night,” he continued. “The Sixers could offer Butler a four-year, $146.5M deal, too.
“Butler would be eligible to sign a four-year, $140 million contract on the way to the Rockets, but Houston would likely need to include center Clint Capela and guard Eric Gordon to make the financial deal work, sources said.”
The Rockets missed out on the Butler sweepstakes in November, with Minnesota rebuffing their trade offers for the star before shipping him to Philadelphia. The Rockets have been a bit stagnant over the years, failing to get over the hump in a stacked Western Conference. That led to some turmoil this offseason, with rumors of an unsalvageable relationship between stars James Harden and Chris Paul.
Paul has denied rumors that he has requested a trade, however, and the addition of Butler certainly would put Houston back on the map in the Western Conference.
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