Rockets Notes: Butler, Coaching Search, Lue, JVG, Cassell

Before he committed to the Heat during last year’s free agency period, Jimmy Butler was a prime target for the Rockets, who attempted to go all-in for him on two separate occasions, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle details.

Houston’s first run at Butler came during the 2018/19 league year, when he was being shopped by the Timberwolves. At the time, the Rockets were willing to offer a package that included four first-round picks, but Minnesota ultimately preferred a Philadelphia offer headlined by two affordable veterans who were ready to contribute immediately (Robert Covington and Dario Saric).

Still convinced that Butler could be the player that helped push the team over the top, Rockets GM Daryl Morey was prepared to renew his push for him during 2019’s free agent period. According to Feigen, the club was lining up trades to move Clint Capela and Eric Gordon in order to create the cap flexibility necessary to land Butler. However, despite the fact that he’s from the Houston area and is close with James Harden, Butler decided early in free agency that he wanted to head to Miami, closing the door on the Rockets’ pursuit.

Here’s more on the Rockets, with a focus on their head coaching search:

  • While the Rockets have interest in Doc Rivers, they’re also preparing to schedule meetings with several other candidates for their head coaching job. According to Feigen, Houston had planned to begin scheduling those interviews by this Wednesday and Thursday, and the club’s list of candidates is expected to include Tyronn Lue, Jeff Van Gundy, Kenny Atkinson, Wes Unseld Jr., Stephen Silas, and perhaps Sam Cassell.
  • Lue and Van Gundy were the first two candidates identified as possibilities for the Clippers, but it sounds like both coaches are high on Houston’s list as well. According to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter links), Morey wanted to hire Van Gundy in 2016 and owner Tilman Fertitta is believed to be a JVG fan, while Lue has also “received support” for the Rockets’ job.
  • Kelly Iko of The Athletic explores whether Lue or Cassell would be good fits as the Rockets’ head coach, expressing a belief that Cassell may actually check a lot of the boxes on Houston’s list.
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9 thoughts on “Rockets Notes: Butler, Coaching Search, Lue, JVG, Cassell

  1. Sillivan

    Capela + Gordon >> Butler
    Heat win because Herro Robinson Dragic are the best shooters

      • Puto, it says in the article above that those two players we’re being considered as possible expenditures in order to bring in Butler. I think Sillivan is saying those two players are better and it’s good they kept them instead of bringing in Jimmy Butler. I’m not saying I agree or disagree, I’m just spelling out what I think is being conveyed.

    • Black Ace57

      Butler is an important leader, scorer, and defender for the Heat who plays tough and expects to win. I take that every time.

      • Black Ace I agree. He’s exactly the kind of guy that takes a pretty good team to the top with his Kobe like attitude and goal of win at all costs. Not only the attitude but the willingness to lead by example.

      • The Howler

        Agreed…I feel like Butler and Harden would clash professionally. Maybe Butler thought the same thing and went to Miami as a result.

    • windycitykid89

      Yeah because Capela and Gordon are totally doing better than Butler right now lol

  2. x%sure

    Morey wasn’t put off by Butler’s act. There’s always hope for him. I never saw the need to dismiss Capella, though, I didn’t see the games leading up to the trade. Who is getting credit/blame for that?— I have read that many Rocket followers saw him as holding the team back & it was discussed publicly. Morey could have taken that as a green light to move him whether he believed it or not.

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