The Houston Rockets have never shied away from going after the biggest names in the league. Whether it be via trade or free agency, the Rockets are constantly shooting their shot at the NBA's marquee players.
The Rockets have signed Dwight Howard and Fred VanVleet over the years in free agency and added high-level contributors like Dillon Brooks and Christian Wood. Chris Paul could be also included, although he was technically added via trade, as he opted into the final year of his deal to make it easier for the Rockets to pull off the move.
But although the Rockets have largely had their way in free agency over the years, they've missed on several. Let's take a look at who they've been unable to reel in.
4 free agents the Rockets pursued but were unable to land
4. Jimmy Butler
After being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2018-19 season, Jimmy Butler hit unrestricted free agency in the following summer. Butler had ascended into one of the league's premier players from his stops with the Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Butler helped end Minnesota's 13-year playoff drought and appeared to be on the cusp of joining the Rockets in the 2019 offseason. James Harden worked to recruit Butler and the fact that Butler was from the greater Houston area seemed to bolster the Rockets' chances of landing him.
Butler made social media posts showing that he was in Houston, giving Rockets fans even more hope. Butler would eventually spurn the Rockets and sign with the Miami Heat. The Rockets were under the impression that Butler to Houston was a done deal, as they reportedly had a deal lined up, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon.
“Look, the Houston Rockets wanted to pay Jimmy Butler the four-year max and he ghosted them. They thought they had them and he left them hanging.
They had trades lined up. I don’t know the teams (or) the destinations, but they had trades lined up for (Clint) Capela and (Eric) Gordon,. They were ready to payJimmy Butler. They really liked their chances and then suddenly, Jimmy had other thoughts.”