UPDATE: 6/25/19 3:30 p.m. ET: In their attempt to sign Jimmy Butler, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe are reporting that the Houston Rockets are willing to trade Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker in an attempt to clear cap space. The team is reportedly looking to land a first-rounder in return.
Wjonarowski also reports that the 76ers are confident they can re-sign Butler.
See original story below.
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 do not have enough cap space to sign Butler to a max contract while keeping Chris Paul and James Harden on their roster. However, Woj believes the team might use the threat of Butler walking away to pressure Philadelphia into a trade deal. The reports claimed that the Rockets would have to offer up Clint Capela and Eric Gordon to make a potential four-year deal work.
All this pressure could be for nought, though, if Philly falls in behind Butler for the foreseeable future. They have the cap space to offer Butler a five-year, $190 million max contract and they could offer it to Butler as soon as free agency opens. If Butler wishes to move on and can find a max offer elsewhere, that could leave Philadelphia looking foolish.
Houston's priority for free agency, league sources tell ESPN: Pursue a sign-and-trade for Sixers All-Star Jimmy Butler. https://t.co/Bsk6g2YhfW— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 25, 2019
Butler himself could hinder the trade, as he's expected to be on the lookout for max contracts only, something that Houston can't offer.
In other free agency news, Woj also said that Klay Thompson would be "very open" to taking a meeting with the Clippers on the off chance that the Warriors don't offer him a max contract at 6:01 p.m. ET on Sunday. Woj made the comments during a free agency special on ESPN2.
Woj on #Warriors' free agent Klay Thompson - "That 5-year, $190 million max offer.. If it's not there for Klay Thompson on Sunday at 6:01PM Eastern... My information is that he would be very open to going to sit down with the #Clippers." pic.twitter.com/ymW8TFJqz4— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) June 25, 2019