At this point, it feels like over half the NBA has been linked as a possible trade destination for Jimmy Butler, however, only one team has really stood out. That team is the one team that would instantly become the best team in the NBA with his arrival: the Houston Rockets.
The latest buzz out of Houston is that the Rockets are now making “a strong effort” to pair Butler with James Harden and Chris Paul. While the Rockets do not have a laundry list of pieces to offer, and may have to get a third team involved, and would even have to risk renting him, this trade should become a necessity to get done.
If the Rockets would have had more firepower and help on the wings last season, they would be sitting here NBA Champions instead of the Warriors. Not only would Butler fill the void Trevor Ariza left when he signed with the Suns, he would also be a seismic upgrade.
Butler would also give them the strength on defense to limit the Warriors from going berserk after halftime of the Western Conference Finals like occurred last season.
At the end of the series, it was clear a healthy Rockets team would have, shockingly, been on an equal level with a Warriors often believed to be unbeatable. But that was before the summer. Currently, on paper, the Warriors have pulled away significantly since the free agent period. It is not just adding the uber-talented DeMarcus Cousins who will have an impact late in the season, but the Rockets were one of the biggest losers of the summer. In addition to losing Ariza, they lost Luc Mbah a Moute who was a key piece to their machine a year ago.
Yes, Carmelo Anthony gives them a potential scoring threat, but his defense is so bad it will bolster the Warriors offense even more. Trading for Butler would erase away all of these problems.
Combining Butler, one of the best two-way players in the NBA, with the league’s best quintessential point guard, and one of the league’s most dangerous offensive weapons is a recipe to not just dethrone the Warriors, but end it before seven.
If the Rockets can complete the blockbuster, they may once again be free agent losers if Butler opts to leave them. Yet, this year, it may just -and should – come in the aftermath of a championship parade.