While the Heat are regarded as the most serious suitor for Jimmy Butler, the Rockets have also been cited as one of the teams most aggressively looking to acquire the All-NBA wing from the Timberwolves. In a conversation with Steven Godfrey of SBNation.com, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta confirmed that his club would like to trade for Butler – a Houston native – if the price is right.
“We would love to see Jimmy come home to Houston,” Fertitta told Godfrey. “It’s not a financial decision, it’s an assets decision on our part. We’ve got a great basketball team. We think we’re as good as anybody in the league. We’re not going to give up unreasonable assets, to break up this team, to get Jimmy Butler. But we would love to have him.”
The Rockets were said late last month to be making a strong effort to land Butler, though a report last week suggested that the Wolves may be reluctant to send the 29-year-old to Houston, since doing so would help create another super-team in their conference. It’s also not clear what kind of price the Rockets would be willing to pay for Butler — Minnesota would likely ask for Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, and draft picks.
Fertitta’s comments – which appear to have been made last month, based on Godfrey’s timeline – probably won’t change the Butler equation at all, but they could result in a fine for the Rockets owner. Executives and representatives for other NBA teams have been hit with tampering penalties for far more innocuous comments about rival players.