This Wednesday, it was announced that Jimmy Butler wants a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Butler had given the organization a list of up to three teams he’s willing to sign an extension for before the trade. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski later reported that those three teams are: The Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, and the New York Knicks.
All three teams have three important things in common:
1. They’re not Minnesota’s competitors.
2. They’re gigantic markets.
3. They’re not Houston.
Still, that’s allegedly not stopping Daryl Morey and the Rockets.
According to a report by Woj on Saturday, the Rockets are one of eight teams interested in making a deal with the Wolves for Butler. The other seven are the Nets, Pistons, Clippers, Heat, 76ers, Trailblazers, and Kings.
It’s important to note that the Knicks, reportedly one of the three teams listed by Butler, isn’t in the mix. That’s because Knicks president Steve Mills announced that the team isn’t taking the rebuilding process lightly.
“We’re not going to take shortcuts,” Mills said, according to The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov. “We’re not going to trade our draft picks. Really, we believe New Yorkers will live with a plan and buy into a plan as long as we articulate it. ... We’re not going to trade away assets for a guy we can get on our own later.”
Unless Minnesota can make do with no assets or picks, it seems like the Knicks will be out of the question until the offseason. That’s good news for all the other teams involved.
The Rockets, on the other hand, are looking to compete now, and it looks like they may have a package lined up for Butler that’s ready to go.
Just to clarify last tweet....Rockets are prepared to make a trade offer for Jimmy Butler in a package centered on Eric Gordon and some fillers. #minnesotatimberwolves #HoustonRockets pic.twitter.com/k03y6Goegq— Brandon Robinson (@ScoopB) September 23, 2018
Earlier this week, our own Jeremy Brener did a great job of listing potential packages that could reel in Butler to Houston. While there are multiple tradeable assets like the newly-acquired Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight, those guys can’t be moved until November, so if the Rockets want to make a big deal, they have to include Eric Gordon.
While the deal may not be liked by some Rockets fans, the truth is that you have to give an asset to get an asset. Gordon fits well with Minnesota’s scheme and brings in a much-needed wing player. He may not be a former Bull, but Tom Thibodeau would be happy to have him in exchange for a guy who’s not even reporting to the team’s media day.
Butler is, like, for real gone.
For the Rockets fan who may be weary trading for a guy who is in a contract year and didn’t list your team as a landing spot: I would like to point to Paul George.
Last offseason, many of us would have taken the bet that George was headed to the Lakers in free agency after being trading the Oklahoma City. We all really thought that the L.A. native was gone. But after a lot of chemistry issues and a first-round exit, he stayed.
Russell Westbrook and George obviously developed a great companionship, and the organization showed him something that others couldn’t in only a season of being together. The Rockets could easily do the same if Butler comes on and has a great run with the team. Or he could agree to sign an extension before the trade and happily come to Houston.
Whatever happens, adding Jimmy Butler definitely gives the Rockets a shot at a championship.