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Rockets making strong push for Jimmy Butler trade with Timberwolves

The Houston Rockets are making a strong effort to acquire Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star small forward Jimmy Butler, according to Mark Berman of Fox26Houston.com.

Butler has requested a trade from the Timberwolves and, while he prefers to play for the Miami Heat, the swingman just wants this saga to end and is fine with getting moved to any team as long as he’s not in Minnesota anymore.

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. Butler, 29, averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game last season. The four-time All-Star 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.

Gordon is unlikely to extend his current contract with the Rockets. He will be a free agent following the 2019-20 season. The former Indiana University star averaged 18.0 points per game to go along with 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 2017-18. He shot 42.8 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from the 3-point line.

The Timberwolves could use a player like Gordon, who can stretch the floor. Minnesota was last in the NBA last season in made 3-pointers.

It’s unclear who the other players the Rockets would send to Minnesota. P.J. Tucker could be a possibility, though. Head coach Mike D’Antoni recently said Carmelo Anthony and Tucker won’t share the floor much this season since they play the same position. Butler is a small forward as well.

If the Rockets are able to acquire Jimmy Butler, they will have a lethal Big 3 in Butler, Chris Paul, and James Harden. Anthony would be the No. 4 option on the team and, while he’s no longer the same player he once was, the veteran scorer can still produce in bunches when needed.

The Rockets finished with the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference last season and were a game away from reaching the NBA Finals. Houston took a 3-2 series lead heading into Game 6 of the Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, but Paul missed Games 6 and 7 with a hamstring injury and the Rockets weren’t able to close out the series.