With NBA free agency on the cusp, it starts on Sunday, I have heard a ton of rumors about a ton of players. I don't know what is real, what is a smoke screen, and where these guys are going, but I'm excited to see all the player movement that is going to happen this summer. RD and I just did a pod about this, and I feel like you can hear my excitement.
One story that I read last night left me shaking my head. I wanted to believe that it wasn't real because it is so asinine that I couldn't believe it. Then a bunch of other reputable reporters came out and confirmed the news too. That news you ask, the Houston Rockets are going to actively pursue Jimmy Butler in a sign and trade as soon as free agency starts.
The whole sign and trade is now a big part of the free agency period, and some big moves have come this way. But, I am at a loss as to why a team like the Rockets, what with all the offseason turmoil, be that true or false, would want to pursue another ball dominant, head strong player. Butler also plays a totally different style of basketball than Mike D'Antoni coaches, and the Rockets have built a roster around.
As I read the story even further, I looked at some of the players that have been named as to who the 76ers would want for Butler, if this were to happen. Names like Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker, and most shockingly to me, Clint Capela, have come up as the names that the 76ers want, and who the Rockets would be willing to give up to get him. I know that earlier this summer Daryl Morey, who is a blowhard and wildly, wildly overrated in my opinion, said that every player on the team is on the trading block. But, to give up on guys like Gordon, Tucker and Capela is nuts. These three guys fit perfectly with what the Rockets do, but they are willing to offload them for a guy, while being a really, really, really good basketball player, may think a little to high of himself. Sure, he torched the Timberwolves other starters while he was there, but come on. Butler is good, but he is not worth completely changing your style, and giving up players that fit with James Harden so well. I mean, Eric Gordon is an elite knock down three point shooter. Without him, the Rockets would have lost the Warriors series in a sweep. He seemed to hit the big shots that they needed to keep leads, or build leads, in the 2 games they won. PJ Tucker is the best defensive player they have, and he is a better three point shooter than Jimmy Butler right now. Yes, Butler is a better defender, but he can't guard big guys like Tucker can. And Tucker, like I just said, can hit the corner three with great precision. I don't think he missed during the series against the Warriors. And Capela, while free throw shooting is a problem, and he was kind of played off the floor in the most recent playoffs, he is still so young and so talented. He is one of the better rim runners in the league, and he can be, if he is locked in, a defensive force against modern centers. Also, he still has time to develop a three point shot. I am a big, big fan of Capela's.
So, to give up on 1, 2 or all 3 of these guys for Butler makes no sense, as far as the Rockets are concerned, to me. Adding Butler to a roster that has James Harden and Chris Paul is only going to cause more problems. If you believe the reports, Paul and Harden despise one another. Paul doesn't think Harden has the drive of a champion, and Harden thinks Paul is old and not as good anymore. Both are right, but they need each other to win, or even compete, for a title. Add Butler to this mix. and I just don't know, or think, that this works out at all. Butler for one is not a three point shooter. He attacks the rim, but he is a mid range guy. The Rockets don't want anyone shooting mid range shots. They want threes, layups and free throws. That is not Butler's game. He would also be the only guy willing and capable to play defense on this roster after the trade, where it to occur. I also think he would get fed up with standing in the corner and watching Harden pound the ball for 20 seconds and shoot a three, or try to draw a foul. That is miserable to watch, and I feel like it would be even worse to be a player relegated to watching one guy run the offense. I also think he and Paul would gang up on Harden by the midway point of the year, and that would be awful. Harden is younger, and much more talented on the offensive end, than both of them combined. But I feel like they would try and ice him out. That is the worst case scenario for the Rockets.
This move makes zero sense to me. I don't like the Rockets, and I think it would be hilarious to see them self implode. But, they have a real shot with the current roster construct to win the title this upcoming season because of the Warriors injuries. I'd love the move for Philadelphia, but I think the Rockets should look in the mirror, I'm talking mainly to you Daryl Morey, and realize they don't need to add another toxic, alpha male to a roster that already has 2 of them. That would be a mistake.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet.
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