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Houston Rockets

NBA Free Agency 2019: Houston Rockets reportedly plan to pursue Jimmy Butler in free agency

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Jimmy Butler (NBA Getty Images)

As the Houston Rockets look to re-tool their roster ahead of next season, they are reportedly interested in Philadelphia 76ers swingman Jimmy Butler, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

MORE: 2019 NBA Free Agency tracker - Available players, news and updates

The Rockets as currently constructed do not have room in the salary cap to sign Butler, meaning a sign-and-trade would likely be the path to facilitate a deal between the two teams.

Per Woj, the 76ers 'plan to be aggressive' in re-signing Butler and can offer him a full five-year, $190 million max contract, while the Rockets can only sign Butler to a four-year, $140 million deal.

In a sign-and-trade, the Rockets would reportedly have to send two of the following players to Philly - Eric Gordon, Clint Capela and PJ Tucker, who are set to make a combined $37 million in 2019/20.

While the 76ers plan on re-signing Butler, such a deal would ensure they don't lose him for nothing in free agency - a similar route the Rockets took in acquiring Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers in 2017.

The Rockets acquired Paul in a sign-and-trade, sending seven players including Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley, plus a draft pick to the Clippers, allowing them to remain in playoff contention after losing the nine-time All-Star.

With the Western Conference wide open next season, the Rockets could look to go all-in on maximising their championship window, however Butler, Paul and James Harden would be making a combined $111 million in 2019/20, limiting their roster depth and flexibility.

Butler averaged 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 55 regular season games after arriving in Philly, lifting his production in the playoffs to 19.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists.

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