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Rockets still pursuing Jimmy Butler despite steep asking price

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Teams are dropping off like flies, but the Rockets are reportedly still involved in talks.

NBA: Playoffs-Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a lot of speculation hovering around the Jimmy Butler situation in recent days. He’s made it clear that he wants out of the Minnesota Timberwolves organization and even provided the Wolves with a limited list of teams he’d like to be traded to, which included the Brooklyn Nets, the Los Angeles Clippers, and New York Knicks.

Minnesota attempted to play hardball with Butler by vowing (at least publicly) that he wasn’t officially on the market, and Butler responded by withholding himself from team activities this training camp. The situation has been described as “deteriorating” from several sources.

When this thing first went public, there were a list of eight teams hitting up Minnesota and gauging the market for Butler’s services, which included the Nets and Clippers from Butler’s list, in addition to the Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, and of course, our beloved Houston Rockets.

Well, now according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Adrian Wojnarowski, the Wolves have an astronomical price set on Butler, and it’s severely limiting the number of still-interested suitors. Minnesota is said to want a combination of “quality veterans, top prospects, future assets, and salary-cap relief.”

That high asking price has seen many teams drop out of the chase for now, with ESPN reporting that the remaining teams are the Clippers and the Rockets, with the Cleveland Cavaliers having now also entered the chase.

The Heat were said to be deep in talks earlier this week as well, but Pat Riley elected to drop out of the hunt once he discovered the Wolves’ asking price.

The Rockets certainly have some of the things that Minnesota desires. They can provide quality veterans in Eric Gordon and/or P.J. Tucker, they also have some quality prospects, including Zhou Qi, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Marquese Chriss (though he can’t be traded until November), and they also have a first-round draft pick they can throw in as a sweetener.

Whether any combination of those assets is enough to get it done remains to be seen, and Woj reported earlier that the Rockets were trying get “creative” in their Butler pursuit and that a deal may eventually have to include a third team.

This is certainly a situation that requires monitoring in the coming days. Lowe is reporting that things in Minny are “volatile” and that any of these potential moving parts could change at a moment’s notice.

Not much else to do now but stay tuned....