- Rockets were ready to offer Jimmy Butler a four-year max deal
- Capela and Gordon were part of the package for Butler
- The Butler deal came before the Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook swap
The Houston Rockets are one of the favored teams in the NBA Western Conference and the team made some key changes. Most know the trade involving Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, a surprise deal that most never saw coming.
However, it appears there was another deal in the making before that. Jimmy Butler was one of the widely pursued players last summer and the Rockets reportedly came close to nabbing him.
According to a report by Tim McMahon of ESPN, Houston wanted to offer a four-year max deal to the 30-year-old cager. At first, it seemed that it was a done deal. Involved in the transaction were allegedly Clint Capela and Eric Gordon who would have ended up with the Philadelphia 76ers. But as most know by now, Butler ended up signing with the Miami Heat.
It was not divulged if this transaction was done before the Paul-Russell trade. Regardless, the swap was expected since James Harden and CP3 were obviously at odds, NBC Sports reported. One can just imagine the cast the Rockets had with Harden, Westbrook, and Butler in one team. But then again, it also meant possible problems as far as ball-sharing is concerned. All three players want the ball in their hands most of the time.
It should be noted that McMahon seems to be hinting that Butler had no idea that Westbrook would be headed to Houston. If so, this meant he would have had problems co-existing with Harden or even Paul (had he stayed on). The four-time All-Star may have opted to join Miami knowing he would be the face of the franchise.
Looking at the Heat and the Rockets right now, the botched trade hardly made a dent on their respective campaigns. Houston sports an 18-9 win-loss record in the West while the Heat are surprising everyone with a 19-8 card.
Moving forward, it will be interesting if both teams will look to tweak their lineup. As mentioned in a previous post, Kevin Love could be the only big-name Miami may be targeting to bolster their NBA playoff bid. For the Rockets, minor tweaks could be made before the February trade deadline.