Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on against the Washington Wizards in the second half at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., Jan. 9, 2019. Getty Images/Rob Carr

The Houston Rockets again fell to the Golden State Warriors in the post-season playoffs but this year, it was in the Western Conference semifinals and in six games. It was later revealed that the franchise’s front office is ready to make every player on the team, apart from James Harden, available for trade in order to rebuild.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has distanced the team from the speculation and made it clear that it is not looking to dismantle the team as they have all the ingredients needed to win an NBA championship going forward. But in a recent interview, Fansided reported the Rockets are looking to add a third star to play alongside Harden and Chris Paul and their main target is said to be Jimmy Butler.

Butler will opt out of the final year of his contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, who he joined during the 2018-19 season from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and become an unrestricted free agent later in July. At the moment, it is unclear if he will re-sign with his current employers. He will not be short of suitors and the report claims the Rockets are planning an aggressive push for the shooting guard.

The Rockets, however, are already above the league’s salary cap which is estimated to be $109 million. They have to clear some of their committed salary cap for 2020 of about $120.5 million before planning a move for Butler.

If Houston go all-in for Butler without letting any player go, the team is certain to go over the luxury tax line which is set at $132 million. Clint Capela is a player it could let go to free up space for Butler, while Eric Gordon is another player that can make way to free up salary space.

Capela has reportedly attracted interest from Boston Celtics as they look for a replacement for Aron Baynes and potentially Al Horford, who has also opted out of the final year of his contract. The Rockets are keen to win a championship with Harden and the addition of Jimmy Butler will certainly boost their position as one of the favorites.

Meanwhile, Paul, who was rumored to have fallen out with Harden and requested a trade, has come out and denied the reports. He insists that he never “demanded” a trade and made it clear that he is happy to remain in Houston next season.

“I never asked for a trade. I never demanded a trade,” Paul said, as quoted on the Houston Chronicle. “I’ll be in Houston. I’m happy about that. I’m very happy about that. I’m good.”