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Houston Rockets “expected to pursue” Jimmy Butler

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Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors - Game Five Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The priority for the Sixers heading into free agency should be to lock up Jimmy Butler with a max contract. I imagine Elton Brand will attempt to do everything in his power to make that happen. But given everything that has transpired in the NBA over the last week, Butler has likely risen to the top of the free agency wish list for many teams, and now there are quite a few threats to steal Butler from Philly. Among them are reportedly the Houston Rockets, according to Brian Smith of the Houston Chronicle.

The name at top of #Rockets’ wish list as free agency approaches: Jimmy Butler.

Harden, Paul and Butler on same team next season, if Rockets can convince Butler to call Toyota Center his new NBA home.

-@ChronBrianSmith

Rockets are expected to pursue Butler and be aggressive in their pursuit. Seen as an ideal fit on both ends of court, and in helping push Rockets to the top of the wide-open West.

-@ChronBrianSmith

Given the Rockets’ cap situation and that they are rumored to be frantically trying to escape Chris Paul’s contract, it seems it may take some maneuvering before the Rockets can land Butler. But if there’s any one GM that can effectively take advantage of the CBA rules, it’s Houston’s Daryl Morey. And that’s not the only factor in favor of the Rockets. Butler is from Houston, so a move to the Rockets would be a move home.

However, I still believe a Philadelphia 76ers jersey to be the most likely to be worn by Butler come the opening tip of the 2019-2020 season. Butler knows his teammates in Philly and he knows the organization, and for the most part he seems to have had a positive experience. The Sixers also appear to give Butler the longest window of contention, although a very durable 29-year-old James Harden may have something to say about that.

We are now 11 days from the beginning of the moratorium period, when teams can begin to negotiate contracts with upcoming free agents. There’s sure to be a ton of speculation, rumors and fodder regarding Butler. Here’s a list of 10 things you can do to control your blood pressure, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic.