As the 2019 NBA free agency approaches, rumors have started to circulate that the Houston Rockets are planning to engage in a sign-and-trade deal with the Philadelphia 76ers involving Jimmy Butler. The Rockets have reportedly expressed their willingness to part ways with the likes of Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker to create the necessary salary cap space to bring Butler to Houston. One of the NBA teams who could help the Sixers and the Rockets facilitate the blockbuster trade is the Boston Celtics.
According to a Twitter post by Sacramento Kings reporter Matt George, the Celtics have a “significant interest” in serving as the third team in the deal that would send Jimmy Butler to the Rockets. In the potential three-team trade, the Celtics are reportedly targeting Rockets center Clint Capela.
“I’ve been told by a source in Houston that the Boston Celtics have significant interest in being the third team in a Rockets/76ers sign & trade. Speculation: Boston, who has now emerged as the front runner to land Kemba Walker, will try and move in and acquire Clint Capela.”
To make the deal work financially, Sacramento Kings reporter Matt George suggested in a separate Twitter post that the Celtics will need to move Gordon Hayward and the two years and $36 million left on his contract. With the potential acquisition of Jimmy Butler, the Rockets may not have much interest in acquiring Hayward in the deal. However, if Tobias Harris signs with another team as an unrestricted free agent, the Sixers may consider adding Hayward to their roster.
“I’d assume, to make a deal like this happen, Gordon Hayward and the remainder $36M of his contract (2 years with a player option), would have to be moved. Doesn’t make sense for the Rockets to absorb him AND Butler. Philly might be open to it if they miss on Tobias Harris.”
Clint Capela might be the best option at center for the Sacarmento Kings. https://t.co/dGmehwfHZP— Sactown Royalty (@sactownroyalty) June 27, 2019
In the proposed three-team trade, the Rockets will be acquiring Jimmy Butler, the Celtics will get Clint Capela, while the Sixers will receive Gordon Hayward. If this deal becomes a reality, it will help the Rockets, Celtics, and the Sixers in filling up the needs to improve on their rosters.
The Rockets will finally have a third superstar who can play alongside Chris Paul and James Harden in the 2019-20 NBA season. Jimmy Butler will give the Rockets a defensive-minded wingman and very reliable scoring option. Gordon Hayward is yet to regain his All-Star form since suffering an injury in 2017, but being in a new environment may help him bring back his former game.
Meanwhile, Clint Capela will immediately fill the void left by Al Horford, who is expected to leave the Celtics in the 2019 NBA free agency. Capela may not have the ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc like Horford, but he fits well with the timeline of Celtics rising stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.