Jimmy Butler ‘ghosted’ Rockets during 2019 free agency
Jimmy Butler reportedly left the Houston Rockets high and dry in free agency after the franchise was ready to commit to a four-year max deal. The Rockets were limited by the extent of their assets but had already planned to trade sixth man Eric Gordon and starting center Clint Capela to make room for him in the summer.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon explained as much during a recent podcast, claiming Butler “ghosted” the Rockets after there appeared to be mutual interest.
“Look, the Houston Rockets wanted to pay Jimmy Butler the four-year max and he ghosted them,” said MacMahon on Brian Windhorst’s The Hoop Collective Podcast. “They thought they had them and he left them hanging.”
“They had trades lined up, I don’t know the teams (or) the destinations, but they had trades lined up for (Clint) Capela and (Eric) Gordon. They were ready to pay Jimmy Butler. They really liked their chances and then suddenly, Jimmy had other thoughts.
Butler engineered a trade between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat, which he chose as his next destination. The deal worked out swiftly, as the Sixers were able to get Josh Richardson and draft compensation in return while having just enough room to add Al Horford to the roster.
The Rockets were forced to pivot to making a different addition, ultimately centering on Russell Westbrook, who they acquired in exchange for Chris Paul in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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