Rockets think they have a chance to sign Jimmy Butler, per report

Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has made it known on more than one occasion this offseason that he wants to add a third star to go with James Harden and Chris Paul.

While Paul’s contract and an apparent rift with Harden complicates things, The Rockets now believe they can add Jimmy Butler in free agency.

“I’m hearing these rumblings about Jimmy trying to get back there (Western Conference),” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said Friday.

Butler spent a little over one season with the Minnesota Timberwolves before being shipped off to the Philadelphia 76ers during the early stages of the 2018-19 campaign.

Windhorst’s colleague over at ESPN, Tim MacMahon, added that “there are real rumblings. The Rockets think they have a chance.”

Given that Butler is set to receive max-contract offers in free agency, the Rockets would have to shed a ton of salary even to be considered an option.

Paul and Harden are set to count a combined $76-plus million against the cap in 2019-20. Meanwhile, the likes of Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker and Clint Capela round out the top-five with a combined $37-plus million cap hit.

Houston would have to rid themselves of all three of those contracts and change without taking a penny back in return to make this work.

Paul’s contract seems to be a non-starter for other teams around the league. For good reason. He’s set to count $124.1 million against the cap over the next three seasons.