Never come across as desperate. It’s a philosophy that you can apply to many parts of life. That is, unless you’re part of the Houston Rockets’ front office. On Thursday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Rockets returned to the negotiating table with an offer for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Jimmy Butler, signaling that Houston has reached full desperation mode.
The Rockets’ most recent offer reportedly includes a maximum of four future first-round picks, which fall within league rules dictating that the picks cannot be “conveyed in successive years,” or stretched beyond seven seasons. The protections on the picks are also believed to be “limited.”
The Rockets will need to add players to the deal to match the $19.8 million that Jimmy Butler is owed this season. The Timberwolves have reportedly been interested in a package deal involving Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker. However, Houston has been apprehensive about parting ways with Tucker. The two players earn nearly $21.5 million.
The Rockets’ desire to re-engage in trade talks involving Butler coincides with the team’s rocky start to the 2018-19 campaign with a 1-3 record. Despite some unfortunate early season circumstances, including Chris Paul’s three-game suspension and a hamstring injury sustained by James Harden, Houston is jumping back into the Jimmy Buckets sweepstakes and sacrificing their long-term outlook as they pursue short-term success.
After failing to put away the Golden State Warriors with 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference Finals last season, the Rockets are looking to do anything they can to get back to that moment this season and finish what they started. Even though Houston has their superstar duo of Harden and Paul, other pivotal pieces are missing on this year’s roster, such as Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. The addition of Carmelo Anthony, James Ennis III, among others just doesn’t make up for what Ariza and Mbah a Moute could contribute on the defensive side of the ball.
By acquiring Butler, the Rockets are getting a solid third option, but they’re also risking the possibility that he can opt out of his contract at the end of the season. If Jimmy ultimately decides to leave, Houston could potentially be left with an aging and overpaid point guard in CP3 and Harden, who will be 30 by the start of the 2019-20 season. With two aging superstars and no first-rounders available in the near future to rebuild the team through the draft, the Rockets could regret taking such a big swing for a one-year run at a title.