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Houston willing to include Eric Gordon, not P.J. Tucker in deal for Jimmy Butler

Rockets

The Houston Rockets reached out to the Minnesota Timberwolves after their recent failed trade with the Miami Heat over the weekend, hoping to pounce on the frustration and scoop up Jimmy Butler. The Wolves were reportedly adamant in receiving shooting guard Eric Gordon and forward P.J. Tucker, but the Rockets would not move Tucker, who has proved an integral cog in their roster, according to Stefano Fusaro of ESPN.

Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni called Tucker “one of the best players in the league in his role” during Media Day two weeks ago, a sentiment that has reverberated through the organization.

Tucker is a locker room favorite, Chris Paul’s childhood friend, and an important defensive stalwart for the Rockets, even more so after the departure of Trevor Ariza.

The North Carolina native is exactly the gritty defensive player that president/head coach Tom Thibodeau wanted to acquire when he traded for Butler last year at draft night. His physicality and innate defensive instincts still give him the possibility to re-instill his culture based on work ethic and defensive tenacity, along with other veterans like Taj Gibson and Luol Deng, who fully bought into it with the Chicago Bulls.

Furthermore, Gordon’s 3-point prowess will boost what was a league-worst offense when it comes to 3-pointers made, as the 29-year-old has made 3.3 and 3.2 3-pointers during his last two seasons with the Rockets, making the most of their happy-fire long-distance philosophy.

Minnesota is likely to still want to unload the contract of Gorgui Dieng, who is owed $48 million over the next three years — which can prove another impediment to the deal without a third party, as Houston has no cap space to take him in.