The Rockets want to add Jimmy Butler.
Houston is planning to “push” the 76ers to complete a sign-and-trade for the 29-year-old wing, according to a report from ESPN, which cites unidentified league sources.
Butler will be a free agent this summer, but the Rockets do not have the salary cap space to sign him, the report notes. So, they’d only be able to acquire Butler if he inked a deal with Philadelphia before being sent to Houston.
Butler began the season with the Timberwolves before he was dealt to the 76ers in mid-November. He averaged 18.2 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 33.8% from 3-point range in 55 regular season games with Philadelphia.
The 76ers are also reportedly interested in re-signing Butler while he has been linked to the Lakers and Nets, as well.
“Hopefully I’ll get a max contract anywhere I choose to go,” Butler told reporters about his free agency last month. “You always want to be able to win, I think that’s key for sure. You’re looking at coaches, you’re looking at the city. There’s a lot that goes into it.”
The Rockets finished 2018-19 with a 53-29 record but fell to the Warriors in six games in the Western Conference semifinals. Golden State has eliminated Houston from the playoffs two straight seasons.
Houston is “actively exploring the trade market for Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker” and is “operating under the belief that at least one of those three” players will not be on the team next season, according to a report from the New York Times earlier this month.
Meanwhile, the 76ers have multiple top players set to enter free agency, including Butler, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick.
“They have tough decisions to make and so do we,” Philadelphia general manager Elton Brand said earlier this week.