3 reasons why not getting Jimmy Butler actually benefits the Rockets
1. Butler has a history of causing trouble in the locker room
This summer, multiple reports highlighted tension between James Harden and Chris Paul. The media definitely blew the reports out of proportion, and some analysts even falsely reported that Paul had requested a trade from Houston. Either way, there seemed to be a small flame in Houston’s locker room, and adding Jimmy Butler to the mix would be like pouring gasoline on a fire.
In his Chicago days, Butler publicly criticized coach Fred Hoiberg on his laid back personality, who was in his first season with the Bulls in 2015. In 2017, Jimmy Butler publicly criticized his Chicago teammates, implying that the younger guys on the team didn’t care enough. This prompted then teammate Rajon Rondo to take to Instagram, saying that his veteran championship teammates from his earlier years in Boston would not have handled the situation like Butler did. This event caused a split in the locker room between some of the younger Bulls players and Butler and the Bulls eventually fined Butler for his comments.
In April of 2018 as a member of the Wolves, Butler seemed to question the commitment of his teammates in a series against the Rockets, as he mentioned being puzzled at how not all players have the same obsession with winning that he does.
On Oct 10 of 2018, just before the start of the regular season, Butler practiced with his Timberwolves teammates after formally requesting a trade from the team. In the practice, Butler led a squad of third stringers to a win over the rest of Minnesota’s regulars. As he dominated the court, Butler yelled swear words at his teammates, coaches and even front office personnel. He even told Wolves GM Scott Layden that Minnesota couldn’t win without him.
At one point in a scrimmage, sources said, Butler turned to GM Scott Layden and screamed, "You (bleeping) need me. You can't win without me." Butler left teammates and coaches largely speechless. He dominated the gym in every way. Jimmy's back.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 10, 2018
Obviously, Butler isn’t exactly a model leader and he brings a lot of controversy into any locker room he enters. This just isn’t the type of drama the Rockets are used to dealing with. Pair this with Butler’s limited outside shooting skills and his high trade price, and it’s clear that Houston is better off without him.