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Rockets Will Try to Acquire Jimmy Butler Via Sign and Trade

Jimmy Butler will decline his player option for the 2019-20 season and hit free agency. While there will be several suitors for his services, the Houston Rockets reportedly plan to make a serious run at him. In fact, they could be angling to acquire him in a sign-and-trade deal.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting the Rockets may need to work out a multiteam deal to get any sign-and-trade done because they’re currently right up against the salary cap. Butler is expected to get a five-year, $190 million max offer from the Philadelphia 76ers. The Rockets can only offer four years and $140 million in free agency.

Here’s more from Woj:

The Rockets don’t have the salary-cap space to sign Butler, so they’d need the threat of the Sixers losing him for nothing to a team with the available room to motivate Philadelphia into a trade. The Rockets also would potentially need to make this a multiteam deal to satisfy the rules of base year compensation that would cover Butler’s outgoing salary.

The Sixers plan to be aggressive in signing Butler to a new deal, sources said, and could blunt a Rockets push with a full five-year, $190 million offer at the start of free agency on Sunday night. The Sixers could offer Butler a four-year, $146.5M deal, too.

Butler would be eligible to sign a four-year, $140 million contract on the way to the Rockets, but Houston likely would need to include two of these players — center Clint Capela, guard Eric Gordon and power forward P.J. Tucker — to make the financial deal work, sources said.

After shipping Dario Saric and Robert Covington to the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire Butler in November, the Sixers are loath to lose him for nothing.

In 55 games with the Sixers during the 2018-19 season, the 29-year-old Butler averaged 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 33.2 minutes per game.