DEAL OR NO DEAL? NO DEAL
Rockets miss out on trade for Jimmy Butler, who goes to Philly
Early Saturday new broke that the Minnesota Timberwolves had completed a trade to send their disgruntled all-star guard Jimmy Butler to a team not named the Houston Rockets. After what was reported to be a strong push by Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey to acquire Butler, the Timberwolves opted instead to send him east to Philadelphia in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second round pick.
The news comes as a blow to Rockets fans, many of whom had assumed until midway through the week that a Butler acquisition was all but certain. The assumed move would have helped jump start an otherwise lifeless offense that has plagued Houston's young season. With the hopes of Butler's assistance dashed, the Rockets’ front office is left to search for a plan B.
To assume that the Rockets are standing pat following the Butler sweepstakes defeat would be foolish. Less than six months removed from an impressive seven-game Western Conference Finals series against one of the greatest teams the NBA has ever seen, the pressure to challenge Golden State once again is at an all-time high. The Rockets’ bewilderingly slow start has only compounded the pressure on Morey to add another reliable scoring threat.
Houston will continue to make phone calls while the current team focuses on finding a 3-point shot that has been MIA all season. In the meantime, the smart money would be to bet on Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, and Gerald Green to break out of their simultaneously crippling shooting slumps. That, combined with maintaining a more concerted effort on defense would more than likely hoist Houston out of their dreadful slump and give the Rockets the fuel necessary to begin a climb up the Western Conference Standings. Until then Houston will be forced to exercise a sports fan's least developed skill: patience.
At this point, one of two things are certain: either the Rockets fix themselves, or Morey will fix it for them.