My, how things change quickly in the world of NBA rumors. Just a few days ago, the Houston Rockets were being thought of as the primary frontrunners in the effort to acquire disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler.
The Rockets were being called the most aggressive team in contacting Minnesota, and they also were thought to have the best offer package to this point, which included Eric Gordon, a first-round pick, and either included P.J. Tucker or some Rockets young talent, depending on which report you believed. There was also a potential third team involved.
Well, now the Rockets are suddenly being referred to as “last” in the Butler sweepstakes. According to a report by Sam Amico of Amico Hoops, and Marc Stein of the New York Times, the new frontrunner is an old frontrunner in the Miami Heat, and the Wolves are extremely hesitant move Butler to one of Minnesota’s chief Western Conference competitors. Amico went so far as saying the Rockets are in “last” and also said:
“For now, it appears the Heat are in the lead, the Rockets are at the bottom, and everyone else is just sort of watching and waiting — including, it seems, Butler and the Timberwolves.”
According to Stein, the Heat have an advantage in that they are one of Butler’s preferred destinations, and that is unexpectedly counting for something in Minnesota’s quest to optimize their value in any Butler deal.
Again, it’s also obviously relevant that the Heat are in east, while the Rockets should once again be one the best teams in the west, even without Butler. The Wolves couldn’t defeat the Rockets last season with Butler on their side. What chance do they have to beat them if he’s now in Houston?
Anyway, the Butler saga has just taken a dramatic turn, with the Rockets going from first place all the way down to last place in the matter of just a few days.
Who knows what will ultimately happen, but basketball is finally here, the Rockets opened up the preseason looking relatively sharp, and we thankfully have the excitement of a new year to talk about. It’d be great to see Butler in Rockets Red, but if this latest report is to be believed, it’s sounding less and less likely.