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“We would love to see Jimmy come home to Houston. It’s not a financial decision, it’s an assets decision on our part,” Fertitta told Steven Godfrey of SB Nation regarding a potential trade. “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.”
His comments could constitute a violation of the NBA‘s tampering rules. The league prohibits team officials from commenting on players under contract, and Fertitta outright said he wants a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves on his team.
The NBA could levy a hefty fine for Fertitta’s indiscretion even though Butler and the Wolves have publicly acknowledged his request to be traded.
Butler, 29, remains on the Wolves roster a week before opening night with no trade in sight. Stefano Fusaro of ESPN reported Butler’s frustration with the organization is at an “all-time high.” The All-Star swingman has informed the team he has no plans to re-sign this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Wolves and Miami Heat were deep in trade discussions last weekend before Minnesota attempted to change terms of the deal. The Wolves were seeking Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo and a 2019 first-round pick in exchange for Butler, per Wojnarowski.
The Rockets have not been mentioned much of late in trade discussions but were known to have previously expressed interest. Houston does not have many tradeable assets. Any deal would likely be built around Eric Gordon and draft picks, and it would probably require a third team to accommodate Minnesota’s desire to acquire a young building block.
There’s nobody on the Rockets roster who is especially desirable to the Wolves that Houston would be willing to part with. The Rockets see themselves as a Finals contender and have already lost the likes of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute from last year’s squad.