Welcome to the Wednesday edition of The Cooler, where there are no automatic outs. Let’s get to it:
*You’ll recall that the Rockets made an aggressive bid to land Jimmy Butler from the Wolves before Minnesota ultimately dealt him to the 76ers last fall, reportedly offering as many as four first-round picks for General Soreness. (You have to wonder, by the way, if Timberwolves President Gersson Rosas, who was sitting on the other side of that proposed deal eight months ago, would prefer to have all those picks now instead of Robert Covington).
Anyway, what’s done is done. But the Rockets aren’t done in their pursuit of Butler. Per Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets are trying to finagle a sign-and-trade deal for Butler with the 76ers — the necessary route for the cap-strapped Rockets if they are going to add a third star to go with James Harden and Chris Paul. Or in Woj’s words, they are “planning to recruit Jimmy Butler to push the Philadelphia 76ers for a sign-and-trade deal.”
The thinking goes that Philadelphia could be motivated to do the deal if the 76ers think Butler, a free agent, doesn’t want to be in Philly long term and would sign elsewhere in free agency.
It seems a bit far-fetched, but if you’re looking for a guy to put pressure on a team to make a deal, Butler has the experience, know-how and temperament to do it. And if you think Houston’s situation is already chaotic, adding Butler to the mix could make for an all-time season to watch.
*By the way, ESPN experts are almost unanimous in the sentiment that Kyrie Irving will wind up in Brooklyn. Kevin Durant’s opt-out, which reportedly happened Wednesday, could add fuel to speculation that he’s going to join Irving. Even if he doesn’t but Irving still lands with the Nets, it almost certainly means restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell will be changing teams.
And speaking of sign-and-trades, that could be an avenue the Wolves pursue (perhaps with the addition of a third team) if the rumblings of their pursuit of Russell are going to gain any serious legs.
*Here’s a fascinating chart of which NHL teams have an edge or a disadvantage when it comes to playing while tired or playing opponents who are tired in the upcoming season.
The Wild fared decently, which is a deviation from past years when they fared poorly.
*This isn’t sports, but it is real life: The definitive ranch dressing rankings.