Minnesota Timberwolves superstar Jimmy Butler is set to meet with Coach Tom Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden this week to discuss his future with the team. If the All-Star guard won’t give an assurance that he intends to stay beyond the 2018-19 NBA season, the Timberwolves are expected to make him available on the trade market.
In need of an elite two-way wingman, David Mackay of Rockets Wire believes the Houston Rockets may consider trading for Jimmy Butler. Aside from filling the hole left by Trevor Ariza, Butler will also give the Rockets another reliable scoring option next to Chris Paul and James Harden. In 59 games he played with the Timberwolves last season, the 29-year-old superstar averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 2.0 steals on 47.4 percent shooting from the field and 35.0 percent from beyond the arc.
To convince the Timberwolves to make a deal, Mackay suggested that the Rockets could explore a trade package centered on Eric Gordon.
“First and foremost, shooting guard Eric Gordon would be the most likely tangible asset to be included in a trade for Butler. He is by far the most productive non-essential part of Houston’s core, and his $13.5-million salary in 2018-19 gets the Rockets toward the neighborhood of Butler’s $20.5 million (after applying Butler’s five-percent trade kicker). Theoretically, forward P.J. Tucker could round things out salary-wise, but that would cause issues with the Rockets’ frontcourt rotation. And while his contract is friendly, it does nothing to ensure a prosperous future for Minnesota. Houston would more likely include draft assets.”
Jimmy Butler Drives Minivan Through Beverly Hills, Proud Of It! https://t.co/xmqgg6cGRj
— TMZ (@TMZ) September 13, 2018
A player of Jimmy Butler’s caliber is definitely worth sacrificing future draft picks. The potential acquisition of Butler will make the Rockets a better team than they were last season where they reached the Western Conference finals and forced a Game 7 against the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Throwing away valuable assets to acquire Butler is undeniably a huge risk for the Rockets since the disgruntled superstar could only be a one-year rental.
However, it’s worth noting that Jimmy Butler was born in Houston, Texas, and he admitted that the Rockets are his favorite NBA team growing up. If Butler builds a good chemistry with James Harden and Chris Paul and helps the Rockets perform well in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season, there is a strong possibility that he will consider staying in Houston long-term.
As of now, it remains unknown if the Rockets have any plan to pursue Jimmy Butler once he becomes available on the trade market. Expect more rumors to circulate as the 2018-19 NBA season draws near.