Posted on June 27, 2019, by Travis Pulver

Jimmy Butler’s future, like the future of many of today’s NBA stars, has been the subject of debate for months. According to the rumor mill, several teams have had an interest. However, as late as mid-May, the odds favored the Philadelphia 76ers.

But with the start of the free agency moratorium just days away, that is no longer the case.

Via @JClarkNBCS

Rather than remain in the Eastern Conference, oddsmakers seem to think Jimmy Butler is going to head over to the West. The rumor mill has been abuzz over the interest the Houston Rockets apparently have in him. It appears that the buzz has been loud enough the Rockets are now favored to acquire him (via BetOnline.ag):  

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  • Houston Rockets     +100
  • Philadelphia 76ers     +150
  • Los Angeles Clippers     +800
  • Brooklyn Nets     +800
  • New York Knicks      +900
  • Los Angeles Lakers     +1000

But back in May, the 76ers were favored to retain Butler (-150) followed by the Rockets and Knicks at +600. However, Houston wasn’t really considered a serious candidate due to their lack of cap space and the likelihood that it would require a max contract to acquire Butler.

Acquiring Butler would require Rockets general manager to move mountains in order to create the necessary cap space. But, as luck would have it, Morey seems to excel at pulling off what most would consider improbable and unlikely.

Of course, if the 76ers are going to lose Butler they would rather get something in return rather than see him walk. Rumor has it that they are open to the idea of a sign and trade, which the Rockets would have to do in order to overcome the serious financial issues that are in the way.

The Athletic’s Sam Amick confirmed Philadelphia’s willingness to do a sign-and-trade in a recent report (via NESN):

“As for the key question of whether the Sixers would be willing to cooperate in a possible sign-and-trade, a source with knowledge of their situation said it’s looking likely. There is, it seems, a strong desire to avoid losing him for nothing if Butler decides to head elsewhere.”

To that end, Morey has been aggressively shopping Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, and P.J Tucker in order to create cap space and obtain draft picks they can send to the 76ers for Butler. Should a third team be needed to complete a sign-and-trade, rumor has it that the Boston Celtics would like to be involved.

However, while there have been plenty of reports of what the Rockets want to do, there has yet to be any indicating success. But they could be keeping it all under wraps in an effort to avoid someone swooping in with a better deal. Of course, to keep any such deal a secret would require quite a few parties keeping quiet (not likely).

So—where should you bet?

Since Morey does have a reputation for working some serious magic, the Rockets can’t be counted out. However, it would be foolish to count the 76ers out as well (if they can make him an offer he can live with). But if you want to win some money, go ahead and put a little down on the Clippers. According to Amick, there is a strong possibility that Kawhi Leonard and Butler team up and join the Clippers.

This is a relatively new rumor, so it is hard to say how much weight it should be given. But if there is anything to it, the +800 odds would make for a real nice payout.     

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