Report: Rockets expected to aggressively pursue Jimmy Butler

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

As the Houston Rockets deal with their in-house drama, the team is reportedly interested in adding a star free agent ... who created a massive amount of his own in-house drama less than a year ago.

Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Rockets are expected to aggressively pursue Jimmy Butler.

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Considering the Rockets are already pretty cozy with the salary cap, any deal with Butler would likely have to come in some form of sign-and-trade.

How would Jimmy Butler fit on the Rockets?

As much as the Rockets would have to give up to accomplish that, the idea of pairing Butler, James Harden and whatever remains from a strong team last year has to be a tempting thought given how wide-open the Western Conference is right now.

Despite the opportunity in the West, the Rockets are in some state of upheaval between Chris Paul’s trade request and the likelihood of one of their starters being traded.

Adding a player who is well known for a strong personality like Butler might be an odd move given the reported friction between Harden and Paul, but every player is different. Butler figures to have multiple max offers when free agency begins, and his defensive presence could be a boon for a team that ranked 17th in the league defensive efficiency last season.

Likely helping matters for the Rockets is that Butler is a Houston-area native, and posted a video of himself driving into the city on Tuesday.

Butler is coming off another strong season in which he averaged 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists while shooting 46.2 percent for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers. Butler dominated headlines early in the season as he burned every bridge he could trying to force a trade from Minnesota, and eventually saw his season end short of the Eastern Conference finals thanks to an absurd set of bounces.

Jimmy Butler and James Harden would be an interesting pair in Houston. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jimmy Butler and James Harden would be an interesting pair in Houston. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

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