Butler is Houston's top target in free agency this summer, but they don't have the salary cap space necessary to sign him outright. Thus, in order to land him, they would have to make some major moves to shed cap space. One such potential move would be dealing center Clint Capela, who still has four years remaining on the five-year, $90 million deal that he signed with the Rockets last summer.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Rockets believe that they have a trade partner in place for Capela. However, they don't plan to deal Capela unless they know for sure that they can acquire Butler. In other words, they don't want to miss out on Butler and also lose Capela.
The Rockets believe they have a trade partner for Clint Capela but do not intend to deal Capela unless they are sure they can acquire marquee Sixers free agent Jimmy Butler, according to a source briefed on Houston's thinking— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 28, 2019
There are likely several teams that are interested in Capela, as he has developed into one of the best young big men in the league. Capela is coming off of his best season, as he averaged career highs with 16.6 points, 12.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. He also shot an extremely efficient 64.8 percent from the field and added 1.5 blocks per game.
The Rockets certainly don't want to lose Capela for nothing, but after a couple of disappointing playoff exits in a row, they clearly feel as though it might be best to go in a different direction. In order to land Butler though, the Rockets would likely need both Butler and the Sixers to agree to a sign-and-trade, and at this point neither side has given any indication that they will be willing to do that. Nonetheless, the Rockets are certainly a team to keep an eye on with free agency just a couple of days away.