The Houston Rockets won 65 games last season and fell just one game shy of dethroning the Golden State Warriors and reaching the NBA Finals.
Behind the dynamic duo of James Harden and Chris Paul, Houston was the NBA's best team up until the final two games of the Western Conference Finals. They also signed future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony to a one-year deal, but this 'big three' may not be enough for Rockets GM Daryl Morey.
According to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets are trying to find a "creative" way to acquire Minnesota Timberwolves superstar Jimmy Butler, who requested a trade after meeting with team management last week.
Sources: Miami has been the most engaged team with Minnesota on a Jimmy Butler trade. So far, no traction with Clippers and Nets. Houston's tried to be creative in its pursuit. It'll be a challenge -- although not impossible -- to get any Butler deal done without a third team.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 26, 2018
The Rockets would need to unload significant cap space to make a trade work for Butler, however, which is why a third team could have to be involved in such a move.
Wojnarowski also reported Wednesday that the Phoenix Suns could be used in a Butler deal should he go to the Miami Heat, the team that tops his wish list, per Marc Stein of the New York Times.
Minnesota head coach and president Tom Thibodeau reportedly doesn't want to trade Butler, since it would jeopardize the team's playoff hopes. That means Minnesota would need productive/somewhat comparable players in return for Butler.
Houston could offer up Eric Gordon or Clint Capela in a package deal that could also include draft picks for Butler's services. Both Capela and Gordon would be capable of replacing some of Butler's offense in Minnesota, thus taking some pressure off of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks were initially reported by Wojnarowski to be atop Butler's wish list, since all three teams had the cap space to offer him the super max contract.
But now, the Heat and Rockets appear to be contenders for the four-time All-Star and world class defender. Minnesota owner Glen Taylor asked for a trade to be gone with quickly, but it looks like things could take some time as Thibodeau fields offers from multiple teams.