While the Rockets attempt to put together a trade package for Jimmy Butler, here are three reasons why acquiring the star makes sense for the team.
The Houston Rockets have been reported to be making a strong effort to acquire Jimmy Butler via trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves. The news broke out from Mark Berman via Twitter.
There are mixed emotions regarding Butler joining the team from Rockets fans mainly due to concerns about giving up too much for a one year rental player. Eric Gordon and a future 1st round pick would be the primary pieces Houston would have to give up. PJ Tucker has also been tossed into the conversation, but it seems like Houston fans draw a red line when it comes to the forward who is entering his second season with the team.
Frankly, I would have to agree with them, however if Morey manages to pull this deal off by giving up nothing more than Gordon and a future first round pick, then I would definitely be on board with this move. Here’s 3 reasons why you should be too.
Next: No. 3
3. He’s from Houston, it only makes sense
He’s actually from Tomball, TX, but that’s close enough. One of the most exciting aspects for me is potentially adding another Houston native to this roster. The tag team duo of Gerald Green and Butler would be a nice tandem. Prior to his first round matchup in the 2018 playoffs against Houston, Butler posted a picture on Instagram of him as a kid wearing a shirt with the retro Rockets logo on it. So we all know the pride is there, but if you are still not convinced, maybe this well help.
Consider this scenario: The Rockets are down two points against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. It’s Game 1 in Houston and there’s 10 seconds left. Paul get’s the ball and calls for a pick. Capela sets the screen and Paul goes around his defender drawing Draymond Green. Paul crosses over Draymond and drives down the lane drawing KD to help out on the weak side. Butler is left wide open on the corner 3. Paul catches the collapsed defense and swings a beautiful no look pass to Butler who shoots the ball. All eyes stare at the ball ascending above their heads. Rockets fans in Toyota Center hold their breath momentarily. Gerald Green watches the shot fall down from the bench. Butler holds his form and the ball swishes the net putting Houston up by one! The buzzer sounds off and the Rockets take Game 1 at Toyota Center.
There is an uproar from the fans who are going crazy. Butler and Gerald Green run toward each other and chest bump as Rockets players encircle them high-fiving each other. Green and Butler throw up the H mid-court as they stare off into the crowd who welcome them with a loud cheer accepting their respective Houstonians’ love and pride for the city. Seems like a fantasy huh? Well Morey can turn that into a reality pretty soon.
Next: No. 2
2. All the defensive uncertainties about the team will be gone
With the recent news about Houston Rockets assistant, Jeff Bzedlik, announcing his retirement from the league suddenly, fans have wondered if the team’s defense will collapse. The Rockets heard chatter about how they took a step back defensively with the losses of Trevor Ariza and Luc M’bah Moute. Losing out on Jeff Bzedlik did not help their case out at all despite signing James Ennis as a replacement during the free agency period.
With that being said, adding Butler on the roster would feature a starting lineup that could look like the following:
This lineup would feature 4 studs that would replicate the same defensive success as last year or even better given their preference of switching defenders on screens. Butler even has the accolades to prove it. He is a 4X All NBA Defensive Second Team player who served as his team’s premier wing defender every night against his opponents over the past couple of years.
Butler’s physique will give the team needed size when guarding superstars like Kevin Durant, LeBron James or Kawhi Leonard. The 6′ 8″ 236 pound forward’s hustle and leadership on that side of the ball will pay dividends as he is known to demand effort from his teammates. That attitude has been displayed by Paul last year, and having Butler out there to lead by example as well vocally will be huge.
Next: No. 1
1. Chasing Golden State
Rockets fans have been extremely lucky to have a GM whose philosophy has always been to “Win Now.” Given the Warriors recent success over the past 4 years, Morey has spent little time trying to figure out how to remain competitive. Finding complementary pieces to Harden finally paid off last year after the team landed Paul in a trade that shocked the NBA world. Many skeptics thought the move didn’t make sense given how Paul and Harden are both ball dominant guards. They ended up being the perfect pair.
Adding Jimmy Butler in the mix would only strengthen this team given his ability to play off the ball, but also serving as the third playmaker for the Rockets. Replacing Gordon with Butler might hurt the team in the sense of losing out on an additional year of a core/stable role player for Butler’s potential one and done stint with Houston. However, it probably will be a risk worth taking given the Warriors’ improvement in the offseason. The defending champions added 4X All Star Demarcus Cousins this summer leaving fans heartbroken.
Sports Illustrated published a top 100 NBA Player Rankings a couple weeks ago and had two current Rockets Players in the Top 10. Another player who cracked the Top 10 just so happened to be none other than Jimmy Butler.
By capitalizing on this trade, the Rockets will feature 3 top 10 players, and the best part of this would be that Warriors would only have 2. Ultimately, Houston’s starting five would match up to Golden State’s starting five. Both teams would have solid depth and more importantly, NBA fans will likely see a rematch of the Western Conference Finals that should be a competitive series. In conclusion, this move would lessen the gap between the Rockets and Warriors. After all, isn’t that what matters the most?