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Report: Rockets plan to recruit Jimmy Butler to push Sixers for a sign-and-trade deal once free agency starts

Rockets-Jimmy Butler

The Houston Rockets reportedly plan to recruit Jimmy Butler to push the Philadelphia 76ers for a sign-and-trade deal once free agency starts on June 30, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Butler becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. The four-time All-Star has reportedly been talking to Rockets star James Harden about playing together in Houston.

Once free agency starts on Sunday, the Houston Rockets are planning to recruit Jimmy Butler to push the Philadelphia 76ers for a sign-and-trade deal that would allow the All-Star forward to join James Harden and Chris Paul, league sources tell ESPN.

The Rockets don’t have the salary-cap space to sign Butler, so they’d need the threat of the Sixers losing him for nothing to a team with the available room to motivate the Sixers into a trade. The Rockets would also potentially need to make this a multi-team deal to satisfy the rules of Base Year Compensation that would cover Butler’s outgoing salary.

The Rockets tried to acquire Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves at the beginning of the 2018-19 season when Butler requested a trade from Minnesota. The Timberwolves opted to trade Butler to the Sixers.

This past season with the Timberwolves and Sixers, Butler averaged 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from beyond the arc.