I personally love this move. I want to get that out of the way first. However, the only way this move can occur is if the Rockets can find any takers for Chris Paul’s albatross of a contract or the absolute negative value contract of Clint Capela. However, with Chris Paul likely out of Houston sometime in the near future, this would give the Rockets plenty of space to target Jimmy Butler this FA.
Jimmy Butler would be the ideal fit next to Harden. Jimmy can play both shooting guard and small forward, can move without the ball, and can actually score on his man (regardless of who is guarding him). He is a two-way player, so he is automatically an upgrade over Chris Paul on the defensive end. A Rivers-Harden-Gordon-Butler-Tucker small ball lineup to come in after a Harden-Gordon-Butler-Tucker-Capela one (barring a Capela trade)? The defensive potential would be extraordinary, and I find it hard to envision a lineup that can score on anyone (besides Harden) in it.
This is obviously assuming the Jimmy does not wish to return to Philly next season. I believe that he truly does want to return to Philly, but the fit there is questionable to say the least. Simmons can’t shoot, and Embiid can’t stay healthy. Philly’s cap is gona be crazy to manage, and that is with the fact they only had 5 people that could play playoff basketball this year. The Rockets, on the other hand, have shown numerous times they are a playoff basketball team. They maximize their cap, and can turn any roster into a contender. Sure, the owner is not willing to spend to win, but having a contender with healthy players is better than being on a contender with unskilled/injured ones.
Can easily see Jimmy take this offer seriously, or at least leverage it to get more from the 76ers. Personally, with how dismantled the Warriors are looking, I would make the trek out to the West if I was Jimmy. The East now runs through Milwaukee, and the Nets may turn into a power house. This is all assuming the NBA champion Toronto Raptors can’t resign Kawhi and decide to blow the team up. The East is starting to look formidable, and this is all without Danny Ainge having a chance to work his Ainge-magic and form a contender of the Celtics (with or without Kyrie and Horford) overnight.
Right now, the best team in the West is either the Nuggets, Rockets, TrailBlazers, Lakers, or Clippers. If Jimmy were to join the Rockets?
I think the title would go back to Houston next year.