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Everyone seemingly wants in on the trade talks for Minnesota star swingman Jimmy Butler and the Houston Rockets have emerged as the latest serious suitor.
According to a Mark Berman of Houston’s FOX 26 TV, the Rockets are “making a strong effort” to trade for Butler.
Eventually, the Butler saga has to end, but where he goes, no one knows. Among those still wondering about Butler’s next destination? No less than the Timberwolves themselves.
Right now, per ESPN, head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau, general manager Scott Layden and team owner Glen Taylor are driving a hard bargain for Butler.
Apparently, Thibodeau and Layden aren’t always on the same page as Taylor.
No matter, Rockets GM Daryl Morey has been known to dream big — and tends to come away with his man. In the past year alone, Morey acquired point guard Chris Paul in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers and picked up forward Carmelo Anthony off waivers.
Perhaps more miraculously, Morey found a way to dump the contract of forward Ryan Anderson on the Phoenix Suns, and received point guard Brandon Knight and forward Marquese Chriss in return.
Morey and the Rockets could likely still use some help, despite finishing with the NBA’s best record last season. They lost in the Western Conference finals to the Golden State Warriors, and all the two-time defending champion Warriors did was add All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins in free agency this summer.
Finding a way to place Butler next to Paul and reigning league MVP James Harden might be enough to make the Rockets feel considerably better about a title shot.
But as has been reported, they have lots of competition. They also would likely need to bring in a third team to make a trade happen for salary-cap reasons … but that shouldn’t be a problem if it comes to it. Both the Suns and Sacramento Kings are reportedly more-than-ready to help facilitate a Butler trade if necessary.
Butler is said to prefer the Miami Heat as his next destination, with the Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons and others still supposedly in play.
Butler, 29, turned down a contract extension from the Timberwolves over the summer. According to ESPN, he wants a five-year and $190-million extension with a new team.
That said, if Morey sees any type of path to make a Butler deal happen, he’s likely to take a gamble. It certainly wouldn’t be his first.