Jimmy Butler trade update: Rockets reportedly making strong push to acquire Wolves star, but deal could be tricky

The Jimmy Butler saga is still dragging along. Despite Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor directing his front office to get a deal done quickly, we're now going on one week since Butler made his trade request. Media day has come and gone, so too has the first few days of training camp, yet Butler remains in limbo. 

Tom Thibodeau has reportedly tried desperately to get Butler to rejoin the team -- perhaps even stay with the Wolves for the entire season -- but the star forward has refused, opting instead to sit out until his trade request is met. A trade Butler now apparently hopes will send him to the Miami Heat. But whether it's Thibodeau's reluctance, the dysfunction in the Wolves' front office or simply a lack of compelling offers, no deal has been done -- and it has allowed a new team to jump into the mix.

According to a report from local Houston reporter Mark Berman of Fox 26, the Rockets are making a "strong effort" to swing a deal for Butler. 

On the one hand, this doesn't come as much of a surprise. Rockets GM Daryl Morey is constantly scheming up ways to make his team better, and has never been afraid to pull the trigger on a move. However, given the Rockets' salary cap and roster restraints, it's hard to see a path to them getting a deal done. 

To make the money work, the Rockets would likely have to send out a combination of Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker, or Gordon and Nene. But in either of those potential packages you run into a problem on both sides. 

The Rockets simply don't have much in the way of intriguing young players that could help the Wolves down the line, and even sweetening the deal with a pick doesn't do much for the Wolves considering it would be a very late first-rounder. Two solid veterans and role players isn't quite the deal the Wolves are looking for.

And then on the Rockets' side, they run the risk of leaving themselves without any depth or bench help in a trade like that. Yes, a quartet of James Harden, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler and Clint Capela would be dynamite. But at some point -- whether because of injuries or just fatigue -- you need depth, and such a deal would leave the Rockets seriously lacking in that department. They've already lost Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute this offseason; dealing away two of Gordon/Tucker/Nene would leave them few role players they could trust. 

Houston could always try roping a third team into a deal, but the more teams you get involved, the trickier things get. And that's before you consider the dysfunction and poor communication coming out of the Wolves' front office. It certainly doesn't hurt for them to try, but it's tough to see how the Rockets can realistically swing a trade for Butler. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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