Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey says when a player of Jimmy Butler’s caliber becomes available via trade, it’s his job to explore all possible avenues to make his team better. That being said, Morey likes the way his team is currently constructed and says the organization is focused on what they have at their disposal.
Butler has requested a trade from the Timberwolves and is not with the team. Minnesota opens its preseason schedule tonight against the Golden State Warriors. Former league MVP Derrick Rose is starting in place of Butler at the shooting guard position.
Daryl Morey on Houston's pursuit of Jimmy Butler:
"Whenever their are players potentially available that can help the Houston Rockets, it's my job to explore, but I would say we love our team. We're pretty focused on what we got."
— Salman Ali (@SalmanAliNBA) September 28, 2018
Morey can play coy all he wants with reporters, but everyone knows the Rockets are aggressively trying to acquire Jimmy Butler, who is a four-time All-Star and one of the best two-way players in the NBA. Butler, 29, averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game last season, his first with the Timberwolves. He shot 47.4 percent from the field, 35.0 percent from beyond the 3-point line, and 85.4 percent from the free-throw line.
Brandon Robinson of Scoop B Radio reported earlier in the week that the Rockets are prepared to create a trade package centered around shooting guard Eric Gordon and some fillers for Butler. Gordon is unlikely to extend his current contract with the Rockets and will become an unrestricted free agent following the 2019-20 season.
The Rockets already made one splash this offseason, although it’s not as big of a move as it would have been if it was five years ago. Houston signed forward Carmelo Anthony to a one-year deal after the veteran scorer was traded by the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Atlanta Hawks, and then waived by Atlanta. Adding Butler to a team which consists of Anthony, star point guard Chris Paul and reigning MVP James Harden would give the Rockets a great chance to dethrone the Warriors.