10 bold predictions for 2019 NBA free agency

Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images /
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NBA free agency
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2. The Houston Rockets will pull off their Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade

Go big or go home! That applies to this bold prediction, as well as Daryl Morey’s strategy as general manager of the Houston Rockets. The Rox are trying to pursue a sign-and-trade with the Sixers, pushing Butler to pursue such a move with his current team. According to ESPN‘s Zach Lowe, they’re not exactly being quiet about it either.

There are a lot of ways this could fall through. A five-year max offer from the Sixers could easily be enough. Maybe Kawhi Leonard joins the Clippers and recruits Jimmy Buckets to L.A. Maybe a third suitor threatening to sign Butler never emerges and GM Elton Brand isn’t forced to make such a deal lest he lose his top free agent for nothing. Or maybe the Rockets aren’t able to put together the requisite assets to make a sign-and-trade realistic.

However, it sounds like Morey already has a potential Clint Capela deal lined up, and Eric Gordon and/or P.J. Tucker would actually really help the Sixers’ problems with wing depth and perimeter shooting, which hurt them in the postseason. If they could keep Harris and Redick, suddenly that’s a pretty stacked wing rotation that helps make up for Butler’s departure.

As Lowe notes in his piece, the Sixers have little incentive to pursue a sign-and-trade with the Rockets at the moment, but that could change pretty quickly. The last time people laughed at Morey saying he had something up his sleeve, he pulled Chris Paul out of a hat. Don’t be so sure it can’t happen again.