The Houston Rockets believe they have found a trade partner for Clint Capela, but will only deal the center if they are sure they will land Philadelphia 76ers free agent Jimmy Butler, sources told Marc Stein of the New York Times.
It's unknown which team the Rockets are apparently prepared to partner with. The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly arranged a meeting last summer with Capela, who was then a restricted free agent, but the team's frontcourt now looks well filled following the all-but-official addition of Anthony Davis.
The Rockets were said to be shopping Capela, P.J. Tucker, and Eric Gordon individually to teams with the hope of acquiring a first-round pick in return. That pick would then be sent to the 76ers in order to land Butler in a sign-and-trade, as the Rockets cannot sign him outright due to salary constraints.
Butler is expected to command a max contract as a free agent; he can sign a five-year deal worth about $190 million to stay with Philadelphia, but other teams are limited to an offer of $140 million over four years. Under the collective bargaining agreement, the 76ers cannot ink Butler to their exclusive five-year max contract as part of a sign-and-trade, but they are reportedly willing to work with the Rockets in order to avoid losing the 29-year-old for nothing, according to The Athletic's Sam Amick.
Capela is coming off the best season of his five-year career. The 25-year-old big man averaged a double-double with 16.6 points and 12.7 rebounds along with 1.5 blocks per game. He is due to earn just under $15 million next season after signing a five-year, $90-million deal with Houston in July 2018.